A PRIME pick from the prolific ' house of Penguin Books is The Symphony, edited by Ralph Hill (Pelican double, 2s. 6d., 450 pages). It is addressed to the serious student of music " and indeed, for its full value to be 'appreciated, it is necessary to have the minimum of musical training. But this is one of the very best companions to the symphonies more usually played in the concert hall, for broadcasting and on recordings that it has yet been my fortune to meet.
An invaluable introductory essay on the history of the symphony as a musical form by Ralph Hill himself is followed by 20 essays and analyses of the contributions to the symphony made by the great musicians from Haydn to Sir Arnold Bax. The essays are contributed by a wide variety of musical critics and experts. A wholly commendable effort.
Another recent Pelican worth a longer notice is The Romans, by R. H. Barrow. This is a thoughtful and clear analysis of the Roman character and of the special contribution of Roman civilisation. Though the author fails to see and Appreciate the true destiny of Eternal Rome, he only just fails; and in most of the many places in which the history of Rome touches the history of the Roman Church, he writes in such a way as to avoid serious offence while offering challenging analyses and assessments.
Henry Williamson's two great nature classics, Solar The Salmon and Tarka The Otter, must be welcomed to the series. The first as a newcomer to Penguins and the second published as a Penguin in 1937 as a Puffin story book. No wars, no economic or political crises can affect the appeal and the uold these two books have on young and old.
Other recent publications from the house include: Science News' 13 (Penguin).
B. J. P.
In Ireland from the Flight of the Earls to Gratian's Parliament (Fallon, Dublin, 8s. 6d.), James Carty has assembled many contemporary documents illustrating the history of Ireland's development, a very large number of %sheds are reproduced. This invaluable " companion " history book has been published surprisingly cheaply, and though the author amusingly asks the reader " to excuse some of its inperfections " (sic), the production is generally good.