This fine compilation rises above the usual coffee-table designation with 1200 well-chosen images, mostly historical photos from both commercial photographers and amateurs but also sketches, paintings, and postcards from numerous sources, including one-of-a-kind family albums. For example, there is the earliest known extant pencil sketch (1823) and photograph (1843) of Singapore. Arranged chronologically, the four chapters consist of concise commentary and identification notes; the views include topographical studies, posed formal portraits, and spontaneous street scenes. All ethnic groups are presented in a balanced fashion, as are all kinds of activity political, economic, religious, cultural, and social. If the final section depicting the present-day city-state is a bit suggestive of government propaganda, Singapore's recent achievements are truly remarkable. Very fairly priced for what it is, this treasure trove of historical visual documentation is recommended for all academic and public libraries as a record of dramatic transformations in a region that deserves our attention. Harold M. Otness, formerly with Southern Oregon Univ. Lib., Ashland Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.