As stated clearly in the preface, The Earth's Electrical Environment was written to aid policy members in assessing the importance of atmospheric electricity research. The reviewer has no idea whether this principle goal has been met and can only dicuss the text in relation to other works of the same general type.

This class of book is actually a relatively new invention by the scientific community, and there is a real doubt in the reviewer's mind whether it should be classified as a book at all. It is more a collection of short stories with, hopefully, a common thread binding them together. In literature, such an anthology is often viewed as a way of enjoying and/or understanding the breadth and versatility of an author. In the present case, each entry is written by a different person. This makes it impossible for a reviewer to make any useful comments on the style, completeness, or coherence. The review itself might then degenerate into 16 different reviews, each potentially too shallow to be meaningful. This leaves something of a dilemma. The reviewer cannot comment on the primary purpose of the text, cannot comment on the style of the text or author, and is not competent to judge the 16 different research areas. With this somewhat pessimistic preamble, I will try to make some useful, general comments.