There is no doubt that this is a fascinating book, and it is a joy to have such a wealth of information in one volume. However, one must question the value of a considerable amount of what is written. Harman provides very very little in the way of criticism of her sources, often merely listing every possibility recorded in earlier sources. As such it is difficult to assess the worth of the various references she uses and though one may read a section with great interest it is very difficult to make objective assessments on the value of the evidence vecause of the manner in which it is presented here. Whilst one may feel they have a good overall feel for life on Hirte when the book is finished it is impossible to make many statements about the island with certainty in areas where there is still considerable debate.
That having been said, the use of such a huge quantity of references provides an extremely varied account of all aspects of the islands make up together with excellent use of photographs and diagrams helps paint a vivid picture of the island and made for a hugely enjoyable read. However, though the book was enjoyable I questioned whether I could actually say I knew any more about Hirte when I had finished.