In a rapturously received speech at the SNP conference, the First Minister revealed the Government White Paper intended to answer voters' questions on independence would be published on November 26.
He said it would make clear that the choice in next September's referendum was not about him or his party, but a "fundamental democratic choice for Scotland - the people's right to choose a Government of our own". It would also set out a vision of what Scotland could become if it ran its own affairs.
It was a speech for the hall and the country, incorporating a beginners' guide to the independence debate for uninitiated voters, as well as sweeping rhetorical passages, cutting attacks on Labour and the Tories, and plans for an improved minimum wage in the event of a Yes vote.
Emphasising the historical opportunity, Salmond said the current generation of Scots was "truly privileged" and that a mounting sense of energy could be felt across the country. He said: "In less than one year's time we can stop imagining and we can start building. Building the Scotland we know is possible."
He said "the Scotland that we seek" was one where a written constitution protected people's rights, and where key public services remained in public hands.
"We seek a country where we make work pay not by humiliating those with disabilities but by strengthening the minimum wage.
"We seek a country where business prospers but where the public are protected against the abuse of monopoly power ... And we seek a country which judges its contribution on how useful it can be to the rest of the humanity, not on how many warheads it can dance on a Trident submarine."
He concluded by quoting the American civil rights activist John Lewis. "After almost a century of Scotland moving forward to this very moment - let us ask ourselves these simple questions. If not us - then who? If not now - then when? Friends - we are Scotland's independence generation. And our time, our time is now."
With the Yes camp behind in the polls and hoping to find support among the 50% of Scots who normally don't vote, much of the speech was a run-through of the basics of the independence debate
Addressing "people at home", Salmond said a Yes vote would not be a victory for the SNP or him personally but "an act of national self-confidence and national self-belief".
He said there was no dispute that Scotland could be independent; the question was whether Scotland should be independent.
Holyrood's record on free personal care, the smoking ban, the council tax freeze and other policies showed its priorities were already diverging from Westminster, he said.
"Where we have the power we have chosen a different path. A path that reflects Scotland's social democratic consensus, our shared progressive values - our priorities as a society.
"Now Labour and Tory dismiss these gains as the luxuries of a something for nothing country - really? Personal care for older people, free tuition for young people, to be cast aside as something for nothing?
"This is not a something for nothing country, but a something for something society and this party shall defend the social progress made by our parliament."
There were also sections to tickle the delegates in Perth. Salmond taunted David Cameron for refusing to debate him on TV. "Here's the deal Prime Minister. We'll publish the White Paper then you and I must debate. Prime Minister to First Minister. The choice is yours. Step up the plate - or step out of the debate."
He repeated his promise to renationalise the Royal Mail under independence, and damned Westminster for allowing the UK to become the fourth most unequal government in the developed world.
And he seized on the so-called bedroom tax as a reason for self-government. "In the 1990s, the poll tax became a symbol of why devolution was necessary. The bedroom tax is becoming a symbol of why independence is necessary. One of the first acts of the SNP in a government of an independent Scotland will be to scrap the bedroom tax."
There was a long discussion on oil: the UK's failure to save any of the billions generated by the North Sea fields, and the potential £1.5 trillion in reserves still in Scottish waters.
"There are only two countries in the world with the great fortune of having huge oil resources who have failed to establish a savings fund. The UK and the Republic of Iraq.
"Vast oil wealth is not a problem for Scotland. The problem for Scotland is that for 40 years Westminster has squandered that amazing oil wealth."
Introducing his main policy announcement, Salmond said 70,000 people received the minimum wage, but that it had failed to keep pace with inflation every since 2008.
A post-Yes SNP government would create a Fair Work Commission to ensure a minimum wage that rose at least in line with inflation.
The pro-Union parties were scathing about SNP wishful thinking.
Scottish Labour's deputy leader Anas Sarwar said Salmond had managed to speak for 45 minutes without talking about people's lives, just make "empty promises about an imagined world after independence".
He said: "This speech was all about the powers he wants, not about what he will do with the powers he's got."
LibDem Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael said of the White Paper: "Scots deserve answers based on fact, not assertion. In areas like pensions, financial services, defence sector jobs where they would have the power to act, the Scottish Government should answer the detailed questions about what independence would mean. So far the SNP's track record has been to say anything and do anything to win the referendum."
Scots Tory leader Ruth Davidson added: "Alex Salmond's speech was retail politics at its very worst - everything on offer, but with no price tag attached.
"He is taking the Scottish public for mugs by claiming that they don't need the details, they just need to trust him and everything will be OK."
Observers at conference