antithetical structure of the Descriptio Kambriae. Gerald's penchant for wonders and prophecies is well brought out. The suggestion that the topographical writings on Ireland and Wales may have derived con- temporary inspiration from the new genre of crusader histories is in fact reinforced by the preface to the Topographia Hiberniae, in which Gerald justifies his treatment of the West's wonders by recalling that other authors had already described those of the East. Dr. Robert Bartlett's biographical study represents a major advance in our understanding of Gerald by placing him firmly in his intellectual and social context. Part I, 'Politics and Nationality', examines how his marcher connections, coupled with his career as an ecclesiastical reformer and servant of the Angevins, shaped Gerald's personal sense of identity and outlook on the society of his time. The valuable discussion of Gerald's attitude to the Angevin kings includes a detailed investigation of the De Principis Instructione, a blistering depiction of Henry II's rise and fall first sketched while its author was still in the royal service. In Part II, The Natural and the Supernatural', Dr. Bartlett assesses Gerald's place in the new attitude to nature in the twelfth century. The significance of miracles and marvels for Gerald is discussed with particular reference to his debt to St. Augustine. His changing attitude to nature and naturalistic explanation-from the exuberance of the verse Cosmographia influenced by Bernard Silvester, to the acute observation of the Irish and Welsh works, followed by the eventual 'retreat from naturalism' evidenced by the later recensions of the Topographia Hiberniae and the preface to the Speculum Ecclesiae-is analysed against the background of contemporary scientific thought and the contingencies of Gerald's career. Part III presents us with the case for regarding the ethnographic works on Ireland and Wales as Gerald's most innovative and enduring intellectual achieve- ment. While these bear close affinities with other eleventh- and twelfth- century writings on the Slavs, Scandinavians and Bretons, as well as on the Irish and Welsh, in their attempt to delineate 'the face of the barbarian', they nevertheless transcend both earlier and contemporary ethnography in their unparalleled level of detailed description. By deploying a remarkable range of sources, Dr. Bartlett's book has opened a European perspective on Gerald and illustrated more clearly than ever the wide variety of social developments and intellectual traditions intersected by his writings. At the same time, the limitations of these writings are revealed, especially in relation to twelfth-century theology and scientific theory: Gerald of Wales was no Peter the Chanter or Gerard of Cremona. That he was nevertheless a writer of European significance is argued to have been due primarily to his local connections and experience in the Welsh march, for it was with these that Gerald's Paris education fused most fruitfully in producing the highly original Irish and Welsh topography and ethnography. By the same token, the value of Gerald as a source for medieval Wales has been clarified. This emerges most notably from Dr. Bartlett's exposition of the political edge given to ecclesiastical reform by beneficiaries and protagonists of Norman colonization such as Gerald, with their related conceptualization of the Welsh (and Irish) as barbarians, as well as from the detailed analysis of the Descriptio Kambriae. As a consequence of the study's attempt 'to