Pick of the Picture Books: Looking for Lockerbie

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The Independent Culture

When disasters happen, small places marked out by fate may endure a spell in the unwanted limelight, then vanish from our minds. So it was when 270 people died as a bomb destroyed Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie in the Scottish borders on 21 December 1988.

But among the victims were 35 students from Syracuse University in New York State, homeward bound. Since the early 1990s, a determined programme of exchanges has sent young people from Lockerbie to Syracuse, and (a few years later) vice versa.

These healing contacts are now commemorated in Looking for Lockerbie (Syracuse University Press, £39.95), a book of pictures and words dedicated to the town and compiled by Syracuse professors Lawrence Mason Jr and Melissa Chessher. From chippies and hunt gatherings to boy racers and sheep farmers, they document the community in tender, lavish detail.

Mason calls the book "a love poem from one population to another". And, because they look so hard, they find more than the cliché images of rural Scotland.

Click here to purchase this book