and with the historical value and sources of the Topographia, while the third sets the work in a wider context by tracing the development in medieval literature (including French romances and lais) of a mythology about Ireland as a liminal land whose native inhabitants lacked the polish of civilization or chivalry. Although perhaps occasionally she overstates the virtues of the Topographia by comparison with some of its author's other writings, Dr. Boivin is judicious in her assessment of the work, rightly stressing its originality. While drawing on earlier written authorities for the features of the landscape and fauna he described, Gerald was capable of going beyond these and of relying on his own observation to a degree unusual amongst twelfth-century writers. At the same time, however, it is also pointed out that his view of the Irish past was highly selective, omitting, for instance, virtually the whole of Irish ecclesiastical history from the death of St. Patrick to the Synod of Kells-Mellifont in 1152, an omission all too palpably designed to reinforce Gerald's case that the Irish Church was ripe for reform. Likewise, the borrowings and adaptations from the Lebor Gabdla Erenn ('The Book of Invasions of Ireland'), an Irish text which placed the history of Ireland in a framework of successive invasions, served in part to justify the Anglo-Norman intervention in the island from 1169 and the assertion of overlordship there by Henry II. The notes to the translation, which draw on a wide range of primary and secondary sources (listed in a bibliography at the end of the book), not only identify most of the quotations in Gerald's text as well as sources and parallels for particular passages (the references to bestiaries are especially useful), but also draw attention to significant additions to the first recension, problems of translation, and relevant discussions in the secondary literature. Although not exhaustive (they are, after all, not intended as a full-blown commentary on the text), the notes provide extensive and helpful guidance to the Topographia, making it more accessible to modern readers than ever before. The same is true of the volume as a whole, which deserves a warm welcome as a scholarly and illuminating contribution to the study of Gerald of Wales and his world. HUW PRYCE Bangor ENGLAND IN THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY. By Alan Harding. Cambridge University Press, 1993. Pp. xiv, 351. £ 37.50. Sir Maurice Powicke's The Thirteenth Century, with which this new book will inevitably be compared, was first published in 1953 and has hitherto been the only modern account of the period. Richly detailed and often intuitive, it was essentially an integrated narrative of political, administrative and constitutional history which paid little or no attention to most social and economic developments. Yet for all its idiosyncratic approach, it remains the standard history of thirteenth-century England. Professor Harding's book is altogether different in scope and arrangement. It is also less than half the length and intended for a student readership. An introductory survey of changing views of the period over the last 700 years is followed by a series of chapters treating separately the peasantry, townsfolk, professional groups (including) lawyers and officials), knights and magnates. Political narrative is largely relegated to