There are several editions of this volume now, and this book is quite old. Nevertheless clay pipes remain significant 'diagnostic aretefacts' in archaeology, and of great interest to collectors who may still obtain pieces hundreds of years old for little outlay - or simply find them by field walking. What this book does very well is enable identification at a glance, and give a brief history of the subject in a few pages at what is quite frankly a bargain price. Particulary useful is the line drawing table of bowl shapes (effectively a typology) against which bowls may be compared for dating purposes.
I have not seen all editions of this book, but mine lacks reference to the various stem formulae that have been put forward, or to the archaeological evidence of 'pipe factories', such as that at Rainford in the NW of England. It also seems to draw on a limited range of collections - so this little book is hardly exhaustive. Nevertheless as the key basic, easily portable, quick use, reference it is hard to beat. It was also something of a ground breaker at the time it first appeared. Highly recommended within the limitations of the format. It is perhaps worth noting that shortly before this review was prepared Shire books was merged with Osprey - it will be interesting to see what direction the series may now take.