18 FEBRUARY 1888, Page 21

The East Neuk of Fife. By the Rev. Walter Wood,

M.A. (David Douglas, Edinburgh.)—This is the second edition—so enlarged and rearranged as to be practically a new work—of one of those excellent local histories that Scotland is now producing in great abundance, and which will supply material for another and a more accurate Hill- Burton to base the final history of his country upon. The "Kingdom of Fife" is more intimately bound up with the history of Scotland from the earliest times than any other county, and what is quaintly and happily styled " the East Neuk"—embracing Leven, Largo, Anstrnther, Crail, with all their little suburbs—is as picturesque and as rich in memories as any other portion of it. Mr. Wood, who is an enthusiastic antiquarian, no mean geologist, and (as we gather from the preface of the editor of this new edition of his book) a scholar and a theological student, makes a parish-to-parish, and almost a house-to home, visitation of the district he has undertaken to describe. In the course of his peregrinations, he re-tells the history of various Scotch families and individual celebrities, such as David Leslie, and the more fortunate Sir Andrew Wood of Largo, that tough old sailor and sagacious politician, who was a good deal more to Soot- land than Sir Francis Drake was to England. It is curious also to read of the ill-starred attempts of the men of Fife—recalling some- how the unlucky Darien Expedition—to colonise the Island of Lewis. In these days, too, when amateur acting is made so much of, it is worth noting how Patrick Coldstream, master of the grammar-school in the pretty village of Crail, wrote Joseph, a tragedy which was "acted by the gentlemen of his superior classes, at Crail on Thurs- day, the 30th August, 1735, to the great satisfaction and with the united applause of a crowded assembly of spectators of all ranks." This book is a mine of history, genealogy, arobmology, and not too severe science.