Given that it was one of the Southern's more obscure branch lines it's perhaps remarkable that the Meon Valley now has so many books dedicated to its memory. But as Kevin Robertson's recent trilogy shows, it was not only a railway of reckless folly and over-ambition on the part of its promotors but also one which fitted seamlessly into beautiful countryside. "A Rural Backwater" documents the heyday (if indeed it warrants such a term) of the Meon Valley with some fine photos and informative text. The account of the local strawberry trade in the Wickham area is particularly interesting as are the scans of the station signalling layouts. Whilst it's a shame that no early photos exist of Tisted station and that elusive photo of a Bulleid pacific making a one-off diversion up the Meon Valley has still not come to light, Mr Robertson has assembled some fine archive material here which in no way duplicates the excellent books by Ray Stone and Denis Tillman. There are a few minor mistakes (such as photo 104 which is described as being a scene at West Meon but is clearly taken at Droxford) but overall this is a must-have for anyone with an interest in Hampshire railway history.