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Fishing from the Earliest Times


THE literature connected with fishing is already Tso extensive that a new volume is liable to be subjected to scrutiny to see whether it can justify its birth by furnishing new matter or new ideas. As the more obvious gaps in the literature of the subject become fewer, the tests will necessarily become more searching. Mr. Radcliffe's book, fortunately, can claim a definite raison d'êitre, and may receive an enthusiastic welcome as filling a decided gap, one which it is curious should have so long remained void. His aim has been to provide a history of the fishing art and craft from the earliest times down to about A.D. 500. The title scarcely does justice to the contents of this versatile volume, which is far from being restricted to the consideration of actual fishing practices. These, indeed, probably occupy but a third of the book. The remainder is very largely concerned with what may be classed as the folk-lore associated with fish, fishing, fishermen, and fish-consumers. and with other details which are by-products of the industry. Mr. Radcliffe has been at great pains to bring together a great mass of material which he has collated and coaxed into a very readable form. The illustrations are both good and numerous. The result is an important work which is both entertaining reading, and of considerable value as a comprehensive book of reference. In the main, it consists of classified quotations which are analysed and evaluated by the author. One would gather that the author has thoroughly enjoyed his self-imposed task. He revels in argument, and while now and then he may, perhaps, be suspected of "special pleading,"his interpretations of doubtful or obscure passages are always interesting and suggestive, even when he fails to be entirely convincing.

Fishing from the Earliest Times.

By W. Radcliffe. Pp. xvii + 478. (London: J. Murray, 1921.) 28s. net.

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