HISTORIAN Michael Fry is to “break through the stereotypes” of Scotland’s biggest city in a new book.

Launched last night, Glasgow: A History of the City charts the urban centre’s development from its Roman roots and 6th century foundation to more recent times, taking in the Reformation, Enlightenment and Red Clydeside.

The National columnist says the title aims to present an alternative to standard histories of the “dear, green place”.

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He said: “Previous books about Glasgow have tended to be collections of couthy anecdotes or else heavy-duty sociological analyses with serried rows of statistics.

“In my history I try to break through these stereotypes to present a picture, as complete as I can make it within the covers of a single book, of a unique urban culture.

“As well as covering the conventional subject matter of trade and industry, I pay equal attention to the art and architecture, the language and the literature of Glasgow.

“It is a piquant mixture. The greatest buildings of the city reflect the taste of the wealthiest men of Victorian times, whereas its best works of art and its most typical literary expression, the proletarian novel, illustrate how the working class has more recently risen to cultural dominance – an unusual development among the cities of the western world.”

He went on: “I do not neglect the terrible social and economic problems. “But I survey how, through good times and bad, the city has shown a determination to hang on to what makes its culture so distinctive. This gives hope for the future.”

The launch took place at Waterstone’s book shop in shopping thoroughfare Sauchiehall Street and the title, described as “provocative” by one reviewer, is released by publishing house Head of Zeus.

Fry’s previous releases include Scottish Empire, How the Scots Made America and Edinburgh: A History of the City.