True to its title, this book does cover more time periods and regions of the world than are usually treated in a single-volume history of textiles. Considering this breadth of scope, the text is surprisingly detailed, though a unique procedure of first explaining textile techniques aids in understanding the separate articles. Twenty-four British experts offer a multidisciplinary survey of the development and usage of textiles in daily life, with an emphasis on costume. Over 300 glowing color photographs of some of the loveliest cloth ever made profess the impulse to create beauty, common across cultures and throughout the ages. The bibliography lists mostly British and foreign-language sources, and a museum collection list and glossary are also included. This is an appealing beginner's textbook that should delight specialists as well. Highly recommended.-- Therese D. Baker, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how about over 400 illustrations? Perhaps the only fault to find with curator Harris' all-encompassing survey of global textiles is too much text, because the graphics do showcase well the history, creation, and development of cloth. On the other hand, without her words, how would readers discover that Bukhara susanis (embroidered covers) are now being used to cover TV sets? Or that natives of sub-Saharan Africa wove textile images into their myths? Aided by 24 experts and the resources of the Victoria and Albert and British museums, among others, this pricey tome is a good value for its wealth of information and ideas.