On the night of 4 February 1941, the SS Politician founders off the coast of South Uist. The salvage - nearly a quarter of a million bottles of duty-free whisky and hard currency worth, today, ninety million pounds.
And to islanders across the Hebrides, it's theirs for the taking, hiding, drinking or selling.
This is the true story behind Sir Compton Mackenzie's Whisky Galore. Arthur Swinson's careful research casts an honest light on the events leading up to - and following - this tremendous bounty. Awash with contraband, the communities nearby faced unexpected problems: from the government; the police; customs inspectors; and, not least, each other.
'...faced with these extraordinary circumstances, the rash became rasher, the drunken more drunken, the avaricious more avaricious, the convivial more convivial, the generous more generous, the treacherous more treacherous, the selfish more selfish and the commercial more commercial'.