“The exploration will be extremely rewarding”

“These are books where you would have a location, event, topic or person in mind, and use the text to explore more about that item. You will certainly learn more about that research topic and with Mary’s narrative, and Margaret’s guiding hand, the exploration will be extremely rewarding.”

So writes Ken Smith of the diarist Mary Hardy and the editor Margaret Bird in his book review of the Diary volumes in Brewery History no. 154 (Autumn 2013), pages 89–90.

“Research across numerous interests”

Ken Smith appreciates the value of Mary Hardy’s coverage in areas which are often neglected, such as distribution by water and on land.

“The diaries record wherry traffic and beer distribution statistics, showing a trading world struggling with distribution before the revolution of the railways.”

“This is not a book with just words”

Like other reviewers, he is struck by the quality of the editing and presentation of the original text.

“Whilst the pages overflow with notes, references and expansions of the original text, it is generously peppered with illustrations, photos, paintings, newspaper ads and drawings. For those not familiar with Mary’s locale, Margaret includes maps of the immediate area.” These illustrations, “both historical and modern, bring to life Mary’s world”.

Indexes of great depth

Ken Smith continues: “I was truly astonished that each volume has its own separate index of great depth. This allows the reader, and specifically the researcher, to get right to the quotations and the statement.”

There is more from this review on the Diary website.