enlightening account ofthe events surrounding England's World Cup campaign.
Subtitled The Full Story Of Italia ’90. Davies’s book certainly captures the ﬂavour of II Mondiale: four parts chaos to one part glory, one part tragedy, roughly mixed with a healthy dollop ofbroad farce.
There have been plenty of complaints about Davies‘s treatment of his subjects. but one ofthe main strengths is the way he allows them to condemn themselves. His accounts of the press mob demanding alcohol bans in their columns one moment, and bemoaning the fact that they couldn't get pissed in Cagliari the next, are hilarious. as is Terry Butcher‘s brand of Norfolk Protestantism (‘I found out Jim Kerr was a Celtic fan so I threw all my Simple Minds tapes out the window‘).
Butcher emerges as the mindless blood-and-guts patriot you‘d expect from his tackling style. while Gazza is a vacant adolescent. who makes a point ofasking Ronald Kocman how much he earned, in the middle of the Holland match. Lineker, however. is an urbane young gent who reads The Independent and El Pais (‘to keep up my Spanish‘).
An intelligent and occasionally impassioned book that gives a realistic and occasionally damning insight into the modern professional. All Played Out is the first real attempt to come to terms with 90s Global Football. and a pretty fair one at that. (Tom Lappin)
I Reagan and Thatcher Geoffrey Smith (Bodley Head £14.99) It has long been recognised that Mrs Thatcher is far more popular on the other side ofthe Atlantic. Geoffrey Smith's timely publication goes a long way towards explaining this phenomenon through a close examination ofthe ‘special relationship‘. Unfortunately. it makes far less interseting reading than the sa’tirist‘s eye-view of Scarlett O’Thatcher and Rhett Reagan.
A bone-dry presentation of the material is compounded by inclusion of the minutiae of political workings, right down to the length of telephone calls between Washington and London. Added to this. Smith‘s intrusive admiration for both leaders gives you the uneasy feeling that Maggie is peering over his shoulder. The facts are all there, but this is not the ‘inside story’ heralded by the blurb. (Wendy Robertson)
CHILDREN WOODEN ART
I The People Who Hugged Trees adapted by Deborah Lee Rose, with pictures by Birgitta Saﬂund (Robert
Rinehart £6.95) This book is based on a folktale from Rajasthan, where the first tree-huggers were martyred in their effort to protect the forest. I‘m pleased to say that the conclusion of this children‘s adaptation is happier than that of the original.
Amrita has a special tree in the forest which protects her village from the heat and the storms of the neighbouring desert. When the Maharaja attempts to chop down the forest, she and the villagers hug the trees — this. combined with some timely intervention by the elements, succeeds in preventing such environmental vandalism.
The kind of ‘quality‘ children’s book that adults tend to appreciate, this is a beautifully produced publication, with exquisite illustrations. It combines conservation issues with cultural content, concentrating on the problems ofdeveloping countries. However. serious concerns may outweigh enjoyment, or it may only be suitable for a very limited age group. (Charlie Llewellyn)
Well ’ard Tom Lappin selects the best of the new soft covers.
In Leeds To Christmas by John Cunningham (Polygon £7.95), 19-year-old Michael returns to his Scottish Lowlands home after a spell in England, starts work, and attempts to conform to small—town life and expectations. Cunningham‘s
first novel tries to convey the impression of constricting horizons and Michael’s increasing frustration with his situation, but the author sets himself as many limitations as he does his character. The language is colourless and the peripheral characters too ﬂat to involve the reader. There are moments of charm and insight, and Michael’s attraction to his landlady is tackled very sensitively, but ultimately this is far too understated and delicate a story to exert any real emotional tug.
From small-town Scotland to small-town USA and The Hot Spot by Charles Williams (Penguin £3.99). The book of the movie ofthe original book Hell Hath No Fury, this is one of those sparse dustbowl sex 'n’ sublimated violence thangs that Larry McMurtry used to bang out in big thick wodges. Used-car dealer Harry Madox blows into town and starts exchanging smouldering glances (and more) with boss‘s wife Mrs Harshaw, but hankers after
enigmatic Gloria Harper. The sort of.
thing that the big screen probably handles as well if not better than the printed page.
Further north in New England, the inhabitants of Dingley Falls by Michael Malone (Abacus £5.99) are going about their equally bizarre business. Malone’s approach is like Garrison Keillor knocking a hole in the fence and peeking into David Lynch territory, and the result, ifat first rather twee, is ultimately addictive. A large and multi-faceted cast of characters is assembled, and gradually begins to peel away the
surface pleasantry of an American Surbiton.
Those wishing their horizons expanded a little' further could do worse than Pohlstars by Frederik Pohl (Gollancz £3.50), a collection of no-nonsense science-fiction short stories refreshingly free of intergalactic travellers or third-rate metaphysics, although Pohl does seem to have an unhealthy obsession with gambling.
More gambling in Size by A.W. Gray (Abacus £4.99). Sizemore Brandon is a gangster‘s heavy on the run from his old mates and the cops, shacking up in Las Vegas and playing some poker. Nice and sleazy at first, but it descends into crime-thriller- by-numbers stuff around halfway and never really recovers, despite having a rather engaging hero.
The Dark Side by Guy De Maupassant (Cardinal £4.99) is an attempt to pull together the author’s supernatural and horror stories into a collection that unfortunately seems very tame by modern standards. For every masterpiece like ‘The Horla‘, there are a couple of half-baked superficial tales like ‘The Dead Girl‘ or ‘The Madwoman’ that just peter out. Maupassant‘s true genius lay in his depictions of the pretensions of the petit bourgeoisie, but these less-rounded stories seem to have dated rather badly. There is also the consideration that several of them were written while Maupassant was gradually going insane with syphilis, not a situation guaranteed to sharpen your prose.
vision When a book has such an all-encompassing title as Scottish Art 1460-1990, when it comes at 430 or so pages with 347 illustrations (mostly colour) and when in addition it weighs in at- and costs - a lair lew pounds, then the impression is of a book that is aiming to be the authoritative text on the subject. In the introduction, Duncan Macmillan encourages this through his comparison of the approaches towards art history at two 17th century Italian art historians, Baldinucci and Bellori. The latter, he says, viewed the history of art as the result of unconnected spasms oi genius, whereas Baldinucci saw it more organically, like a tree which grows to have many branches. Scottish art history has tended to be seen in the iormer way: bright stars against a dark sky, with no continuity (this is the art historical view that allows one recent volume on British art to mention no Scottish artists until Campbell, Howson and so iorth). MacMillan hopes to offer in this book the more complete version, a vision of Scottish art with roots, trunk and branches -though he does admit that
r a :.
any such project is bound to omit some at the twigs, and this is not an encyclopaedia.
There is no doubt that this volume will be an important part of the library of anyone with an interest in Scottish art, but because 01 those omissions it will have to be supplemented by some other publications on the subject- the publication accompanying the Glasgow
*_ “much .\l.\L‘.\llLl.\;\ i
Girls exhibition, ior instance, and the
catalogue tor the New Scottish Photography exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery (MacMillan explicitly draws attention to other specialised publications). The whole field oi line art photography has been omitted, as has recent slte-speclilc or periormance work; sculpture 01 any period is given pretty short shriit (Paolozzi is illustrated by two-dimensional work, ior instance; vernacular, monumental and architectural sculpture is missing). This may seem like carping in the lace of what is a massive undertaking and a sumptuous production. It's not intended that way, but rather intended to point out the paucity of comprehensive publications on Scottish art. In similar fashion, the lack oi a comprehensive and adequately exhibited national collection oi Scottish art is a serious loss. It’s all very well ior academics or other specialists who know the field and all the catalogues to then argue with MacMillan's viewpoint; but it won't be until other broad surveys are generally available that an overview ol all the complexities that make up Scottish art will be possible. Until then, this book is a necessary- and pleasurable — publication. (Hilary Robinson) Scottish Art1460—1990 by Duncan MacMillan is published by Mainstream Publishing.
The List 21 December 1990— lOJanuary 1991 77