Called the "Islay Bible" in its first edition, then referred to as the "Blue Book of Islay" in the second, a new nickname will no doubt be found for the third edition of Margaret Storrie"s "Islay. Biography of an Island", just published. The first two editions each sold thousands of copies, and the new front cover has a striking map with north at its foot, while the back cover sports an eye-catching photograph by James Deane of the Rhinns Lighthouse from Claddach. Handsomely printed on high quality paper with wide margins, it has been substantially revised and enlarged to incorporate recent research findings and island changes.
It evokes the evolution of the island"s unique landscape, economy and society, and the final chapter discusses the accelerating rate of change and some of the challenges ahead in what is, after all, a finite island space. Exactly half a century ago the author coined the epithet, "A Hebridean Exception", for this very special place. It was echoed by Walker in 2000, in his monumental volume on the buildings of Argyll and Bute, when he characterised Islay as having "the necessary sense of the distinction between the urban and the rural, regrettably increasingly rare in the Hebrides".
As the back cover illustrates, previous reviews deemed Islay. Biography of an Island "that invaluable study", "a scholarly work of a very readable kind", "immensely readable...a book not to be missed", and which "can be unreservedly recommended".
It costs Â£20 and is available from various outlets on the island, the ferries and beyond; or from firstname.lastname@example.org