When you stop and really read the works of Alastair Borthwick you realize that Borthwick captured the heart and soul of Scotland. Borthwick was a very prolific writer who wrote about Scotland’s common folk. He understood all too well their daily struggles. His best work, however, was his depiction of the Scottish soldier. His descriptions were very accurate because he had served in WWII as part of the 51st Highland Division’s 5th Seaforth Highlanders.
Borthwick had a great love for the outdoors. His first book, “Always a Little Further”captures the beauty of the Scottish highlands. Humorous tales and antidotes make for an interesting read about a time long past. This classic does an accurate telling of the tough times that the commoner went through in the early twentieth century. The book came out originally in 1939 and have never been out of print.
Borthwick is best known as a television and radio broadcaster who reported on subjects as diverse as Joseph McCarthy to Bonnie Prince Charles. Borthwick liked to consider the ramifications of social change in his writings. His writing encouraged movements to take action but have also created a great love for his beloved Scotland.
His work included a Scottish survey that told a look at the toll WWII took on Scotland focusing on its assets and liabilities. Borthwick’s routine of writing in the morning and fishing in the afternoon gave him the balance he needed to complete his television and radio assignments. Borthwick thrived with the challenges of creating interesting subjects to present to Scottish audiences. He became a Scottish icon because of his passion for his beloved Scotland.
Borthwick’s second book, Sans Peur, also known as Battalion when it was re-published in 1994 is the most memorable of the two books he wrote. It was his accurate descriptions of the life of an infantryman that made the difference. Borthwick had a way with words that hasn’t been matched. It is that dedication to the subject at hand that made him special.