Paperbacks; Non-Fiction

Article excerpt

The Smallest of

All Persons

by Gaby Wood

Profile Books [pounds sterling]3.99 ([pounds sterling]3.79)


In a miniature volume of just 63

elegant pages, Gaby Wood prepares the way for her heroine, Caroline Crachami, who was `once Britain's most famous dwarf'. Only 21 inches tall, this `living doll' - was she nine years old or three? - was exhibited as a freak in 1824, the year she died. The unspeakable Dr Gilligan billed her as the Sicilian Fairy, who could also be `handled' by anyone willing to pay an extra shilling for the

pleasure. Crachami's tiny skeleton can still be seen at the Hunterian Museum, next to the Irish Giant. Her fate, and the disturbing questions it raises, are crisply scrutinised here. Douglas Power Great Frauds and Everyday Scams

by John Croucher

Allen & Unwin [pounds sterling]6.50 ([pounds sterling]6.17)


It may be fascinating, but it is also deeply depressing to find out how ruthless, selfish and greedy - or how gullible and stupid - humans can be.

How are we to take this book? John Croucher's true stories of imposters, thieves and liars could be useful as

a warning to the innocent or as a do-it-yourself manual for the would-be cheat. You, too, could smuggle 75 small snakes in your bra, rob corpses, obtain free meals with half a dead cockroach, rip off your insurance company or clean out a few bank accounts. Meanwhile, I shall never use my credit card again, or

a mobile phone, or take my laptop to an airport. …