Steadfast Boats and Fisher People by Gloria Wilson is a beautifully produced and presented collection of images about the fishing fleet in Scotland, and especially in north east Scotland, during a period that will be familiar to anyone who is of middle age or older. In her introduction, the author says: "Steadfast Boats and Fisher People is the third collection of illustrations which celebrates my deep regard for the fishing communities and their boats. It sets out to define the overall direction in the design of vessels built to the requirements of mostly Scottish fishermen from somewhere around 1965 to the late 1980s, this time span being chosen because I was there, and met the worthy people and their boats."
Within the book the reader finds a short but comprehensive introduction setting out the background to and the trends in the fishing industry during the period covered, and an account of developments in fishing boat design in Scotland which manages to be both accessible to the general reader and sufficiently detailed to really help understand differences in fishing boats that remain visible today as you wander around Scotland's harbours.
At its heart, this is a book of photographs, and what the reader finds is a very good selection of black and white images that illustrate the trends described in informative captions. The quality and variety of images on offer suggest very strongly that they are only a small part of a much larger collection taken by the author over the period, and this is perhaps the greatest strength of this excellent book. The opening chapter talks about the change from designs with a cruiser stern to designs with a transom stern. Casual readers may not have the slightest understanding of what this means, but browsing through some 50 photographs in this chapter leave you in no doubt at all about the difference, what the difference meant to those operating the boats, and the way this changed techniques in the boatbuilding yards. A later chapter gives the same comprehensive and informative treatment of the change from wooden boats to steel boats. And although this is primarily a book abut fishing boats, what is especially nice are a number of photographs of their crews, sometimes in unfeasibly 1970s haircuts!