I read it last night. Really enjoyable! It may not contain a lot of new technical information for anyone who has done some potato breeding and has a reasonable grasp on polyploid genetics, but it will be a great guide for those who don't. I was already figuring out which family and friends to lend it out to first as I read it. I particularly enjoyed the philosophical bits, encouraging the reader to embrace diversity, rather than run screaming from cross pollination.
Well worth the $20 just to read opinions that I agree with for once.
Growing where temperate rainforest meets the sea (WA coast): Jan avg low temp ~34*F, Aug avg high temp ~69*F, ~111 annual inches of rain, but only about 15 inches May-Sep, salt air, lots of wind.
Finally have my own copy, took a bit longer due to my recent vow to stop using Amazon if I can find an alternative.
I'm really enjoying this book. I must say that it doesn't break any new ground in state-of-the-art potato science, but it isn't intended to. It is primarily intended to encourage British gardeners to resume amateur potato breeding, as they once did enthusiastically as recently as a century ago. The book is well written, funny, well organized, and covers all the important bases of potato breeding from pollination to varietal maintenance. She also extensively covers alternative strategies that she doesn't use, and explains in detail her own experiences, both successes and failures. This is a great book and well worth the long wait we've had for it. I hope it becomes a cult classic in the UK and Europe so we can expect more printings. This can be the kind of book that only gets printed once and becomes rarity rather than a useful reference for those who need it.
It has many gems that are uniquely Rebsie: "One of my newly planted out seedling batches had a devastating visitation from my ginger cat and his dreaded Arse of Doom, which left evil deposits followed by a savage ground raking in which several plants were damaged."
And the best defense of genetic diversity (and landraces etc by extension) I've ever seen in print: "Conventional gardening wisdom has it that all plants should be uniform and consistent: any kind of plant that doesn't come true from seed is not worth growing. This is one of the most insidious lies ever sold to the gardening public, repeated endlessly on TV shows and in gardening books. It simply isn't true, and is aimed at making you go back to the garden centre each year to buy new seed instead of saving your own. "Doesn't come true from seed" is really another way of saying "contains lots of exciting diversity". "
A fantastic book overall, and I wish Rebsie would come back so we can all congratulate her on it. Writing a good book that is accessible and does exactly what it sets out to do, while being vastly entertaining is a great achievement.