In brief

The People Atlas. By Dr Brunetto Chiarelli and Anna Lisa Bebi

Macdonald Young Books Pounds 10.99.

With commendable modesty, this Italian book gives Italy one page. Britain, featured as part of northern Europe, is represented mainly by minorities - a blacksmith from Jersey, a terrorist from Ireland, a West Indian girl, two unemployed men and a shaggy Highland cow.

Perhaps by focusing on the fascinating and obscure the book hopes to stimulate interest that it struggles to generate by coherence and scholarship. It is certainly informative and rich with surprises.

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