Actually this might be classed as a Twentieth Century Herbal, full of the history, the lore and the factual data on herbs and spices. For a gardener interested in growing herbs for culinary use and fragrance, this will be a widening of horizons; for a medical student, the ancient lore of the herbals dates far back of modern medicine, even of the Arabs and their ancient knowledge. Colin Clair has brought together much of interest as he traces the part spices played in the days when their importance led to overland caravans, dangerous voyages, founding of remote colonies. The Moslem conquests, the Crusades- the far journeyings of the Venetian galleys, the rivalries among centers- all these were vital factors in the trade in spices and in the exploration that led to the discovery of America. Spain, Portugal, the Dutch and the English sought new sea routes. The French transported trees from the East Indies to the West. All this precedes the main section- devoted to alphabetical listing of the spices from Allspice to Vanilla. Each entry contains variants in nomenclature, source of supply, description, processes of preparation, traditional and contemporary uses. The second part of the book deals with herbs, their early use for medicinal purposes, the survival of herb gardens when the monasteries kept knowledge alive, the earliest botanists and herbalists and the blend of science and lore; the later herbalists. Again the major portion is devoted to alphabetical listings with full data on each of the herbs named, from Agrimony to Yarrow. It is interesting to find how many plants we think of as flowering garden plants were earlier known for their medicinal value,- gentian, foxglove, balm, bugle, marigold, , etc. Check members of the American Herb Society for potential customers.