family at home. These were eventually given to the National Library of Wales by his daughter, Miss Florence Reid. They have now been edited by Professors J. O. Baylen and Alan Conway. The editors have omitted all material of purely family interest and what remains reads like a diary of Dr. Reid's experiences from his embarkation at Spithead in January 1855 to his departure from the Crimea in June 1856. Reid's rank as an assistant surgeon was a modest one, and he had a worm's eye view of the horrors and discomforts of war and of the short- comings of the British medical services. The letters, however, are by no means full of unrelieved gloom. On the contrary, he was obviously anxious to reassure his family that his lot was not an intolerable one. He found the voyage out exciting. The s.s. Clyde was laden with a cargo of badly packed ammunition, but Reid was more interested in the prospects of sight-seeing at Gibraltar and Malta. Even the Crimea itself had compensations; fields of crocuses, tulips and hyacinths in the spring of 1855 made him think that it must have been 'a pretty country before the war'. Most of his time was taken up with the sheer struggle for survival. Sometimes they ate well, if bizarrely, of cold fowl and tongue, eaten with their fingers, and champagne, drunk out of a broken tumbler, in the ruins of recently captured Sebastopol. But Reid himself developed scurvy in the winter of 1855-56 because there were no fresh vegetables and no supplies of lime juice. Throughout the campaign, more men died of disease, including cholera, than from enemy action. Even bleaker aspects of the Victorian army make occasional appearances. One man was hanged over his own grave in front of his comrades for murdering a fellow soldier. Others were flogged for sleeping at their posts and subsequently deserted to the Russians. Drunkenness was a constant problem; the men were drawing comparatively high pay and had nothing except drink on which to spend it. Yet through it all officers and men grumbled but made the best of things. By the autumn of 1855 the assistant surgeons had got a hut for their use and had put up wallpaper and chintz curtains. Their French allies had established a comic opera and were giving regular performances. The final impression left by Reid's letters is of the extra- ordinary resilience of human nature even under the worst of circum- stances. The editing of Professors Baylen and Conway is meticulous. They provide concise accounts of the Crimean campaign, while there are some good plans and some excellent illustrations, mainly taken from the Illustrated London News. M. E. CHAMBERLAIN Swansea