buildings, but because they executed fewer commissions there than in England, many Welsh houses are, in a sense, unique and are therefore more vulnerable. Thus, when the sole Welsh house ascribed to Robert Adam (at Wenvoe) was demolished, there was no other to stand as an example of the architect's work in Wales. If the reasons for growth are fully described, so are those for decline. A variety of factors, including death duties, falling land prices, and agricultural decline combined to lead, by the first decades of the present century, to the abandonment of many houses by families which had been their proud owners for generations. Fragmentation of estates and requisition during the Second World War sounded the death-knell for many others. The author, perhaps too charitably, says that before the war losses were 'inevitable and largely blameless'; now, they are unforgivable. This book will certainly make those who read it aware of the 'appalling catalogue of destruction' which has taken place and which is continuing. Indeed, any person of feeling cannot fail to be moved by a sense of loss on reading it. But we live in an era of severe financial stringency, and whether this work will melt the hearts of those who hold the official purse-strings remains to be seen. J. R. ALBAN Swansea BRITISH RAILWAYS 1948-1973: A BUSINESS HISTORY. By T. R. Gourvish. Cambridge University Press, 1986. Pp. xxvii, 781. £ 35.00. This volume, entitled 'A business history', was commissioned by the British Railways Board during the chairmanship of Sir Peter Parker. It has taken seven painstaking years to produce and is definitive in its survey of British Railways from nationalization in 1948 up to 1973. Dr. Gourvish is Senior Lecturer in Economic and Social History at the University of East Anglia: his approach, therefore, perhaps reflects more of the economist than of the social historian. The book is divided into three major sections reflecting the changes in the structure of railway management over the period. The first part covers the period of the British Transport Commission and the Railway Executive from 1948 to 1953; the second, the British Transport Commission from 1953 to 1962 and the third, the British Railways Board from 1963 to 1973. In each section the author and his team of researchers deal with organization, financial performance, and investment. There are also extensive statistical appendices analysing the financial position of the railways over the period of the study. In total, the book is a comprehensive work of reference which reflects the undoubted scholarship put into it. If anything, it is too full of detail, almost to the extent of overwhelming the reader. How one would appreciate an overview of the period which would lift one out of the morass of detail! The opening description of the nationalization process, the underpayment of the top personnel, under-investment from the outset and the absurdity of an annual programme for an industry with a lengthy production cycle make fascinating reading. The book also traces the way in which the high ideals of nationalization embodied in
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