Making extensive use of source material and illustrations, Tyfil Thomas paints a vivid picture of life both inside and outside the workhouse for the various groups of paupers under a system which was clearly failing to cope with the effects of industrialization. This failure was particularly highlighted by the problem of the able- bodied poor, those on subsistence wages or suddenly unemployed because of fluctuations in trade. During the strikes of the 1870s the 'workhouse test' failed to operate and in 1875 the Guardians' attempts to provide task work led to bitter confrontation. Given that the inspiration for this book was a series of lectures given by the author to teachers and sixth form students, and also that it contains 179 illustrations and maps in as many pages with many substantial extracts of original source material, its educational value for the study of social conditions in the nineteenth century is evident. The National Curriculum's emphasis on primary evidence makes this a useful book for Teachers' Centres and school and college libraries. The glossary, appendices, notes and very selective bibliography have also been designed with students and teachers in mind, although the price of £ 15 could prove restrictive for individuals. There may be a danger of the general reader feeling that the narrative is over- burdened with lengthy quotations and extensive extracts from documents. However, the subject matter is so fascinating that this should not be so, and the Glamorgan Archive Service's initiative in making their material more accessible to a wider public is to be welcomed. SIAN RHIANNON WILLIAMS Cardiff BRITISH POLITICS AND THE LABOUR QUESTION, 1868-1990. By David Powell, London, Macmillan, 1992. Pp. viii, 180. £ 27.50 hardback; £ 8.50 paperback. This volume in the series 'Modern History in Perspective' aims to provide an account of the 'labour question' in British politics in short compass over the last one hundred and twenty years. In this object Dr. Powell succeeds admirably. He deals not only with the emergence of the trade-union movement as a strong national force, but also with the history of the Labour Party. The vicissitudes of both unions and party are recounted with agreeable caution, but with attention to all recent research on aspects of the story. The attitude of the other main political parties towards the trade unions as they first developed a national voice is first traced, and although the Conservatives are given good marks at times, the Liberals are shown to be the more friendly to labour organizations, especially after the formation of the Labour Representation Committee in 1900 and the Gladstone-MacDonald 'entente' of 1903. The author stresses the importance of the First World War in acting to 'force the pace of government thinking on the welfare and industrial relations aspect of the Labour question, as on wider questions of social reform and manpower planning' (p. 62). But he does not stress sufficiently the importance of the Fourth Reform Act of 1918, which he writes of merely as a 'Franchise Act' (p. 73). In fact the Act was vital in opening the way for the