The state of the Nation: Atlas of Britain in the Eighties by Stephen Fothergill and Jill Vincent (Pan, £6.95). Invaluable and colourful reference book, breaking the country down region-by-region in social, economic and political terms.
Who's Who of Jazz by John Chilton (Papermac, £6.95). Short and "bibliographical" lives of jazz musicians born before 1920 — Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Ella Fitzgerald and the imcomparable Billie Holiday rub shoulders with less familiar names, It's all 'too marvellous for words" — or almost.
The Life of Arthur Ransome by Hugh Brogan (Hamish Hamilton, £4.95). The author of
the magical Swallows and Amazons comes vividly alive as a private, naive and somewhat sad figure whose ringside seat at the Russian Revolution fashioned his future life.
Curzon: a Biography by Kenneth Rose (Papermac, £8.50). Subtitled "A Most, Superior Person", this biography of a man once tipped to be Prime Minister is a celebration of imperialism and all its sides which now seem distasteful.
Green, Green My Valley Now by Richard Llewellyn (NEL, £2.95). One of the sequels to How Green Was My Valley follows similar themes of deprivation and struggle in mining communities — this time in the present day.