"Galoshins Remembered: A Penny Was a Lot in These Days" by Emily B. Lyle is a detailed account of an aspect of life in parts of Scotland at the very end of the 1800s and the early 1900s. As the foreword of this book explains, the "Flashbacks" series sets out to present in printed form the words of individuals recounting aspects of their lives in Scotland. This can take the form of interviews, memoirs or autobiography. The material in this book comes mainly from recordings made by the editor for the School of Scottish Studies Sound Archive of interviews undertaken from the late 1970s onwards in different parts of central and southern Scotland.
Galoshins was a seasonal folk drama learned orally and performed, mainly by the boys in the community, in people's houses in return for food or - preferably - small sums of money: hence the subtitle, a penny was a lot in these days". In different parts of southern Scotland and at different times the tradition took place on "Old Year's Night" (New Year's Eve) or Hallowe-en. The drama took the form of a fight, often with the aid of pretend swords, before the member of the cast fulfilling the role of doctor brought the loser back to life.
The book that emerges is a detailed and comprehensive account of a tradition which, if the book had not been written, would very probably have been lost altogether as memories faded and those able to give first hand accounts were increasingly no longer with us. It is, certainly, a specialised book, but one which ensures that knowledge of the tradition will live on when direct memories of it have long gone.