David Guest’s Book Review Highlights

Berkhamsted and Tring Living Magazines Book Reviews

It is light and frothy and some of the bubbles may get up your nose.
Space Captain Smith by Toby Frost, 2008

You’re entitled to expect something special from a £12 paperback. From the seriously awful front cover to the absence of an index at the back, this is not exceptionally good value.
A Perspective on Pendley: a History of Pendley Manor by Bob Little, 2014

Sadly, Willow Facing Her Demons is quite a bit less amusing than Willow the Fat Loser, and the best characters appear in the first part of the book. As Willow’s quest for herself proceeds they fade away to be replaced by dullards.
Lessons in Laughing Out Loud by Rowan Coleman, 2011

Two categories of people should buy this book regardless: those who love Bishops Stortford; and those who are not so much connoisseurs in the field of photography, more connoisseurs of the photography of fields.
Hertfordshire: The Glorious County June and Michael Massey, 2008

The only colour, now as in [the edition of] 1995, is on the cover. The photograph is of Aldbury, which none of the walks visits. But it would, in any case, take a Time Machine to visit this Aldbury. Locals date the picture as no more recent than the 1970s. Inside, the designer has thriftily recycled the black and white photographs of the pubs from the earlier edition, giving the impression of Hertfordshire as a county free of motor vehicles and where trees and shrubs never become unruly.

Many of the words are identical. The publisher continues to hope “that you obtain considerable enjoyment from this book”. Obtain! Perhaps there was an even earlier edition produced in the 1950s when that word was last in common use.
Pub Walks in Hertfordshire by Alan Charles, 2007

The chronological arrangement of material spawns some woeful chapter-endings: “And so we leave 18th-century ‘Great Berkhamsted…”; “So we leave 19th-century Berkhamsted…”; and, finally, “It is time to leave the ancient town of Berkhamsted…”
Berkhamsted – A History & Celebration The Francis Frith Collection, 2006

If you answer Yes to more than one of the following, this is the book for you:

  • You have Berkhamsted – A History & Celebration but are too lazy to read it
  • You don’t mind that one-third of this book (ie £3’s worth) has nothing to do with Berkhamsted
  • You find all monochrome photographs hauntingly atmospheric
  • You regard £8.99 as a trifling sum that you might just have handed over to Ottakar’s anyway.

Berkhamsted – A Quiz and Miscellany The Francis Frith Collection, 2006