The warp threads of this book are linen, but the weft of the story is the sociology and history of the people who devoted their lives to transforming the fibers of the flax plant into a product known around the world for its quality, Irish linen. Wilson (Textile Art from Southern Appalachia), an authority on the textile arts of Appalachia, has completely integrated her appreciation of linen and lace as art into a much larger story of colonial politics, religion, climate, trade history, and moving personal stories. Beginning with the immigration of Scots to Ireland and the emigration of Irish, Wilson follows the extensive trade with the American Colonies to the replacement of hand spinning and weaving by steam-powered mills to the gradual diminution of the present-day linen industry by competition from China and changing popular fashion. VERDICT: a lively social history replete with fine photographs, this book will be of interest to many readers far beyond the pool of Irish textile fanciers. David McClelland, Andover, NY, Library Journal.