Unfortunately the applause needs to be muted. According to the editorial note, the surviving 594 letters are 'reproduced' with only 'salutations and much common form' specified as being omitted. In fact, whilst many quotations are presented in full with 'all their irregularities', much of the contents are summarized and rendered into standardised modern form, and some of the financial details are left out. An initial scepticism that this reductionist approach to the calendarisation might omit or conceal important insights as well as facilitate accessibility is regrettably borne out by a perusal of extracts from the letters published elsewhere. Whereas Atkinson and Baber quote a letter to John Cockshutt (the manager at Cyfarthfa) dated 10 May 1788 as including the comment 'We however are satisfied that yr intentions are good & if we fail it will be seen from some cause not in your power to remedy', not only is this quotation not included in the present work but no sentiments of this nature are mentioned. This is despite the fact that Crawshay is conveying a rather different attitude towards Cockshutt to that made abundantly clear in other letters and puts an important gloss on the stream of criticism that was directed towards the manager on this occasion. Moreover, some of the detailed material that is omitted would have been of interest-at least to this reviewer-and in particular the reproduction of financial statements. Similarly, though perhaps less crucially, the standardised precis form of the reproduction ensures that much of the tone and style of the correspondence, which might have provided clues to Crawshay's character and the nature of his relationship with correspondents, are ironed out. For example, the summary 'encloses a letter from Scott & Co. containing quite justified complaint about the Cyfarthfa blooms' does not really capture the elegance and nuances of the original which Hyde cites as 'Enclosed is a letter from F. Scott and Company. I have been down and it's with real concern that I find the complaints of bad blooms well founded. What you can intend in this kind of neglect in our Fabrick, I don't know, except it is a determined plan to keep us all in good temper and prevent our enjoying either pleasure or profit.' As a result, although the painstaking transliteration is to be admired and although the book is a valuable addition to the literature containing primary source material on the later eighteenth century, it is likely to serve as much to draw researchers to consult the Letter Book itself as it is to obviate the need for that consultation. This, in itself, is no bad thing and those who wish to embark on the journey to Gwent will find their task made the easier by this book, with its succinct introduction, helpful glossary and its extensive, though not quite all-embracing, set of biographical notes. Those who do not will still find that the letters themselves offer a fascinating and potentially unique insight into the modus operandi of one of the leading industrialists of the day This book takes us towards a greater understanding of, but not quite into the mind of, its protagonist. PHILIP RICHARDSON Bristol