is the Amazon itself. Beautifully written. often disturbing but never dull. Read it. (Mike 'l’ownsley)
I Hothouse Earth: The Greenhouse Effect and Gaia John Gribbin. (Bantam Press £14.95) Gribbin elucidates the hottest environmental issue ofour time — global warming. The 80s can now boast the seven hottest years since reliable records began. placing global warming firmly on the political agenda. But. scientists cannot yet say whether or not this warming trend is. in fact. due to the Greenhouse Effect. Why not'.’ This is the question that the book seeks to answer.
Global climate systems are bewilderingly complex. Gribbin, a prize-winning science writer and physics consultant at New .S'cienrist. pares back the scientific jargon and presents the debate in the words of the key players. The Greenhouse Effect is a natural process. without which our planet would be too cold to sustain life. Since the industrial revolution we have pumped enormous amounts of pollution into the atmosphere and destabilised the natural. Gaian. order. the consequences ofwhich in the words of Mrs T herself. ‘are second only. perhaps. to a nuclear winter'. Yet all is not doom and gloom. Action taken now could prevent nature‘s full fury being vented on humanity for taking her gifts for granted. But that action requires global co-operation on an unprecedented scale: east and west; north and south; first worlds and Third World (or Less Developed Countries. as they are now being euphemistically called). It makes a pleasant change from the usual. ill-informed. hit and run environmental journalism. and is ideal for anyone interested in the wider issues involved in Global Warming. (Mike 'I'ownsley)
I The Blue Peter Green Book
(BBC Sainsbury‘s £4.99) Rather like the television programme. chatty. easy to digest. very informative. this attractively illustrated book explains environmental problems. how they can be dealt with. and has — ofcourse — ‘here‘s what you can do to help‘ sections. highlighted in ‘Action Boxes' throughout the text. There‘s plenty of photographs showing BP presenters and young viewers engaged in various green activities. Children who write to B? to express their views on green issues or to describe their own green activities will receive the Green Blue Peter Badge. So. get reading. get writing. get greening. (Rene Taylor)
I The Young Green Consumer Guide John Elkington and Julia Hailes (Gollancz £4.99) Children reading this guide are sure to become pesky know-alls on shopping trips — check those tea-bags. are the actual bags made from bleached fibres? Are you buying a rain-forest-friendly breakfast cereal? Is the washing powder phosphate free? Parents who want out ofthe firing line should direct children to the section entitled
‘At School'. charts to be made. questions to be asked. From Biros to furniture. there‘s lots to be ‘greened‘ in schools. lnventively illustrated with cheeky drawings by Tony Ross. it‘s an ideal book for a keen little Green who likes spouting facts and figures. Did you know. for instance. that the Japanese throw away (to the detriment ofthe rainforests in Sarawak) 16 million pairs of chopsticks every day? Thought not. (Rene Taylor)
I The Young Person’s Guide to Saving The Planet Debbie Silber and Bernadette Vallely (Virago £2.99) A book for green teens. There's a quiz for openers, ‘How Green are You?‘ Answer that. then read on. All non-environmentally friendly issues are fully explained. from Chernobyl
and Chipko to hamburgers and heavy metals (no. not that endangered species Def Leppard). followed by ‘What can You Do?‘ sections to get everyone enthused and enrolled in green groups. Ifyou feel greened-up and ready for action there‘s tips on ‘How To Organise a Campaign‘ at the end of the book. Get on your bike! (Rene Taylor)
I Thorsons Organic Consumer Guide Ed. David Mabey. Alan Gear and Jackie Gear (Thorsons £4.99) Britain now allow free use of38 pesticides deemed dangerous in other countries. and permits some 3500 ﬂavouring additives. of which less than ten per cent are regulated. Colourings. preservatives. listeria. salmonella. ‘mad cow disease‘ — these terms have only recently entered our daily vocabulary. but the public is hungry for more facts about food production.
Food writer Mabey and the presenters ofChannel 4‘s All Muck and Magic. fulfil two functions. The first states the case for organic farming: its benefits to health. to ﬂavour. and to the environment: and the long-term economic wisdom of what initially seems a more expensive approach. In the second section each type of food and drink (including meat) is discussed in detail. and an extensive guide is supplied to finding and identifying real organic produce. There is also a short section on eating out.
Though only seven pages of the directories cover Scotland, this is an authoritative and comprehensive introduction to organics. and should be welcomed by those already converted, since supply will grow to meet the demand it should generate among those who read it. (Andrew Burnet)
l Gallowglass, Barbara Vine (Viking £13.99) Go the brink of suicide, about to hurl himself under a train, Joe is dragged back to life by a firm pair of arms around his waist. His saviour is a young man of similar age, but from a social and intellectual stratum so removed from Joe’s fostered upbringing that he instinctively assumes the lowly position of pupil to tutor.
An exotic, aristocratic creature, his rescuer Sandor expects more than this. By his rulebook, the life he has saved now belongs firmly to him, and the unwritten contract is agreed. Joe is now his master’s chattel — in Shakespearean terms a gallowglass, an unquestioning servant.
For Sandor, the timing is perfect. With crime large in his mind, he now has a handy tool to execute much of the filthy work. It takes some time though, for Joe to fathom the workings of his beloved owner's mind, and Sandor’s warped intentions unravel only slowly.
First capturing attention with ‘Iittle Joe's' simple, deprecating voice, Barbara Vine (aka Ruth Rendell) shifts focus to the victim of the tale, the delectable dainty Nina Abbott, a former
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model who lives remote as a fairy child in a pinnacled castle prison. Guarded by dogs, electrified fences, and all the safety tripwires her security-specialist husband can fit around their country mansion, she is cut off from the world as much by fear as by her bodyguards.
This fear, unspoken at first, gradually suffuses the story, matched by the tightening predatory circles of Sandor. Gathering into the plot the comfortineg substantial figure of Paul, Nina's smitten chauffeur, and his eight year old daughter, Gallowglass at first presents a deceptively domestic picture. But though punctuated by the ordinariness of children's voices and details of daily chores, it insidiously tightens the noose until the tale grows breathless with tension.
Jigsawing evil and cruelty with good, Vine looks at the contradictions and betrayals of devotion and obsession. Blending the ingredients of a classic thriller with sophistication and ease, she creates out of a complicated fretwork a scenario that demands attention and, along with curiosity, stirs a page-flicking worry. (Rosemary Goring)
I Wish You Were Here Adrian Henri (Jonathan Cape £6.95) With Roger McGough and Brian Patten. Henri makes up the trio ofwell-known Liverpool poets whose appeal almost rivals the Beatles‘. Well. not quite. There‘s not much hysteria at poetry readings. But their ‘Mersey Sound‘ published in the ()Us is still in print. The present collection is dedicated to the poet‘s ex-wife who died in 1987 and the opening poem is an affecting glimpse of their relationship. The rest is generally of a different order— fragments oflif'e. briefobservations of people and animals. and memories of far-off places. Many seem like sketches an artist‘s brush might catch before the light changes. And indeed llenri is a painter and intends to match these verses with an exhibition in London. Some of his images stay in the memory: ‘The night/ levels its eyes like a gunman/ aims fireszx another city bites the dusk.‘ (Ken Morrice) I Trying to Grow Firdaus Kanga (Bloomsbury £13.99) Crippled with
‘osteogenesis imperfecta’ Brit grows tip in the bright life of wealthy modern Bombay. surrounded and protected by his crazy l’arsec family. Named Brit by his sex-mad sister Dolly because of his brittle bones. his mother approves of its Englishncss. The novel traces Brit’s path through a childhood marked bv
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The Lism— 19 April 199079