Michael Fry, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $24.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-312-33876-3

Although his title makes a claim that he fails to fully back up, Fry, a correspondent for the Scotsman and author of The Scottish Empire , provides a highly entertaining romp through American history as influenced by men and women of Scottish ancestry, from warriors to financiers, from politicians to explorers. Fry wanders pleasurably and eloquently across a landscape including presidents Polk, Buchanan, Arthur and Wilson, and William McIntosh, son of a Scottish trader and a Native-American princess who became chief of the Creek Indians and introduced tartan to their costumes. Davy Crockett, Malcolm Forbes and the first two men to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, also figure here. Fry gives due diligence to the likes of Herman Melville, Douglas MacArthur, the New York Times' s James "Scotty" Reston (born in Scotland and brought to the U.S. as a child), New York Herald founder James Gordon Bennett and such movie stars as Shirley MacLaine, Stewart Granger, George C. Scott and Katharine Hepburn. One small complaint about this generally inclusive work: in his chapter on capitalists, Fry appropriately gives in-depth coverage to Scottish-born Andrew Carnegie, but he completely ignores Jay Gould, an equally major American financial giant with a significant Scottish pedigree. Tamer in tone than James Webb's Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America (Forecasts, Sept. 12), this contributes nicely to the recent revival of interest in Scottish influence around the world. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
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