suggested remedies for. the invisibility of most politicians’ green clothes. Failing that. he could simply have written ‘Join the Green Party‘. It would have been quicker and saved on paper (even ifit is recycled). but then it would not have ; lined his pockets. (Thom Dibdin)
We. a i2 4—75 'f/
I Down The Drain — Water, Pollution and Privatisation Stuart Gordon (Optima £5.99) The state of the public water supply today gives reality to the darkest dreams of recent science fiction. While fantasy has evolved into fact. this is a horror story which will haunt the dreams of all its readers.
From the acid-rain-pollutcd waters of Highland streams to lifeless East Anglian rivers. the facts tumble relentlessly on: we are destroying the source ofour good health. Privatisation will only make matters worse.
After a ﬂorid introduction. reﬂecting Gordon‘s sci-fi credentials. the style settles down. marred only by an appallineg complicated chapter on water and sewage treatment. But on the whole. this is a well informed and lively account. coping equally well with history. ecology and chemistry.
Down The Drums one flaw is its conclusion: as we cannot stop privatisation. we should use household water purifiers. Fine. until you find out that Gordon‘s original research was paid for by the water purifier industry. (Thom Dibdin)
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I A Fragile Paradise: Nature And Man In The Pacific Andrew Mitchell (Collins £18) An island-hop around an apparent Eden of ancient and diverse cultures. fantastical animals and plant life. new worlds beneath the waves. all with their roots traceable to the days when the Earth was young. However. these idyllic islands contain the greatest spectrum ofendangered species on the planet. partly through the islanders” own exploitation and now in further peril as unskilled inhabitants dabble in tourism and trade to revive their flagging economies.
Keep a map handy. It gets confusing as Mitchell zips around. spitting out his geographical locations. intermixed with a guide to the Earth as it was in prehistoric days. But coo at the cuddly tree kangaroos. cringe at the carnivorous caterpillars and ponder on the purpose of the lizardy thingies.
It's heavy stuff but stick with it for anecdotes peculiar to the Pacific; and eventually comes the reward — a trip to the weird and wonderful Easter Island. But always remember the underlying message: even Paradise is a cause for concern. (Susan Mackenzie)
There has never been a greater choice at hooks for children. Lots at new titles joining perennial favourites on the shelves. Raymond Briggs’ ‘Snowman’ and ‘Father Christmas’ are still selling well, as are CS. Lewis’ ‘Narnia’ books, reaching a wider readership due to the television serial. Rene Taylor selects some of this year‘s new titles.
I Ladybird, Ladybird Ruth Brown (Beaver Books. £2.50) Beautifully illustrated story. told in verse. which ‘ continues the sad tale where the i original nursery rhyme left off. : Follow the ladybird on her anxious journey home. meeting various , animals in the countryside. to a happy ending. 2—5 yrs.
I Bill’s New Frock Anne Fine (Methuen) Winner ofa Smartie
Prize for children's books. Bill wakes : up one day to discover he‘s a girl. His mother gives him a frock to wear and his father. calls him Poppet. He finds out what it‘s like to be a girl in these days ofequality. 6—9 yrs.
I Tintin Illustrated Dictionary
(Harrap. £12.95) A two-way dictionary: apprendez French the
easy way avec des vignettes extraites des albums de Tintin. Une ide’e
whose time has come. 8+.
I Turn of the Tide Elizabeth Jeffrey (Canongate £7.95) From small
apples grow big adventures after
Nick saves Jan from having.the daylights bashed out of him when he
is caught stealing 16th century Macintosh Reds. A sea yarn
creaking of Kidnapped— gushv but good. 10+. '
I Gwenda and the Animals Tessa ' Dahl (Hamish Hamilton £6.95) The
BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS
daughter also writes: Tessa proves there‘s more than one kids‘ dahling as Gwenda the girl with a conscience stays on after the zoo closes to look after the animals. Strong story: pity the illustrations are in black and white. 6—9 yrs.
I The Bunburys: Raibun’s Story David English and Jan Brychta (Fontana £3.99) Set in India. a recent addition to the series featuring the cricket-playing rabbits. who are at least as animated as the English bat and ball players they so obviously resemble. 7—77 yrs.
I A Wale 0 Rhymes J . K. Annand (Macdonald £6.95) A selection of favourite Scots rhymes from Annand‘s three previously published classics. including some recently written. 5+ yrs.
I Who's |l| Today Lynne Cherry (Beaver Books £2.50) All the beasts have caught a bug in this unusual illustrated rhyming paperback aimed at taking the pain out ofpain. Bright and breezy. 0—5 yrs.
I KatieMorag and the Tiresome Ted Mairi Hedderwick (Collins £2.50) More Hebridean hijinks when Katie Morag‘s nose is put out ofjoint with the arrival at new baby. Her curious response is to kick her teddy bear into the Atlantic. an action she quickly regrets. 4—8 yrs.
I Streets Ahead Edited by Valerie Bierrnan (Methuen £7.95) The organiser of the children‘s part ofthe
Edinburgh Book Festival has collected stories from ten leading writers about life in the city. 9+ yrs.
. PORT -
lithe festive season provides a further reason to be an armchair sports fan, there are a number of very good sports books on the market which can placate the most resilient of guilty consciences. Mike Wilson tries them out.
I A Sportwriter’s Year Simon Barnes (William Heinemann. £12.95). A few weeks ago. 1 suggested that this book was a must for the Christmas stocking. and since then I have had no reason to change my opinion. Barnes. who writes for The Times. differs from the stereotypical sports journalist in almost all respects (for one thing. he is a vegetarian) and this translates into a style which is not only lucid but refreshingly humble. Ally this to desgriptions of some of the great sporting events. and the overall package works very well indeed.
I Shadow Box George Plimpton (Sportspages. £7.95). Few journalists in the profession ofsports reporting would argue that Plimpton is a master of the craft. and in tackling boxing (literally. for as a participatory journalist he trains himself to go a few rounds with the then Light Heavyweight Champion ofthe World. Archie Moore) he offers lesser mortals a few lessons. He reminds us that although sport itself might be relatively trivial. the issues surrounding it are often profoundly important. Ofcourse. boxing lends itself particularly well to such a view. given its propensity to attract so many intellectual heavyweights. and indeed. Plimpton introduces us to a marvellous gallery. including Hemingway. Truman Capote. Byron and. inevitably. Norman Mailer. I Out 0t His Skin -The John Barnes Phenomenon Dave Hill (Faber and Faber. £4.99). Where football in particular throws up issues which go well beyond the parameters ofthe sport itself. the cancer of racism is among the more worrying. When John Barnes— the son of a Colonel in the Jamaican army —- ran onto the pitch in the colours of Liverpool for a Littlewoods Cup tie against rivals. Everton. in October 1987. the racist abuse which subsequently followed was such that all the disturbing questions concerning racism on the terraces. in the boardrooms of the country‘s major football clubs. in the media and elsewhere in our culture were given an added urgency. Dave Hill has tried to rationalise the problem. using the experiences of John Barnes as a more than poignant illustration. This is not the comfortable biography-style catalogue ofgreat matches and titillating scandal that one might expect (indeed. Barnes was not an active participant in the book‘s creation) and that is partly why it is essential reading. I Golfing Greats (iordon Simpson (Sportsprint Publishing. £12.95). Following the excitement ofthe Ryder Cup match between Europe and the USA. towards the end of September at the Belfry. it was perhaps inevitable that a fairly substantial book detailing the lives and successes ofgolfing heroes from Great Britain and Ireland would make an entrance onto the seemingly inexhaustable market for golfbooks. Kicking off with ‘the greatest ofthem all‘. Henry Cotton. the book proceeds to provide biographies of a further ten golfers. including Daly. Jacklin and Lyle. Well illustrated with a series of monochrome and colour photographs (shame about the one featuring Bruce Forsyth. whose own book. (lo/f. . . Is [I ()n/ya (Jame? received a less than polite review in this magazine a few weeks ago). Golfing Greats should giore than satisfy those who thrive'on knowing individual games in particular and historical records in general.
The List 2-1 November-7 December 1989 85