Throughout his 90 years, Alastair Borthwick had many pursuits within literature and media, all of which gave him a unique perspective on life in many ways. Known for his work as an author and broadcaster, he spent much of his life working for newspapers, publishing books, and presenting radio and television broadcasts on politics, war, and other important subjects of the day. However, along the way, he also served in the military during World War II, which was the basis for many of his great literary works.
A school dropout at age 16, Alastair Borthwick nevertheless found fame along the way. Upon getting a job as a copytaker with the Glasgow Evening Times, he quickly parlayed the experience gained there into a position with the Glasgow Weekly Herald. Along with being given the chance to write columns on various subjects, he also began to notice trends among young working-class residents in the area, such as their fascination with rock climbing. Delving more into the subject, he eventually published his first book in 1939, titled Always a Little Further. Popular from the start, it has yet to ever be out of print.
Along with this book, Alastair Borthwick has also published books detailing his experiences as an intelligence officer during World War II. With the publication of Sans Peur, he had another highly-acclaimed literary work, which was unique in that it was written from the perspective of an infantryman, rather than high-ranking generals.
Despite his success as an author, Alastair Borthwick chose to instead focus almost exclusively on radio and television broadcasting once his military service was complete. Known for writing and presenting programs on people and politics past and present, he received yet more acclaim for his broadcast production Scottish Soldier, a 13-part series detailing the history of Scottish regiments.
Due to his esteemed career in literature and media, Alastair Borthwick was given numerous honors, one of which was the prestigious Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Given to him in 1952, it was awarded based on his work in organizing an event during the Festival of Britain. Get Borthwick’s Life Among the Scots here.
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