Copyright The Malta Historical Society, 2005.

Source: Melita Historica. [Malta Historical Society]. 7(1977)2(173-205)

[p.205] MALTA HANDBOOK. A Department of Information Publication, Malta Government Printing Press, 1977, 240 pp., illus., 30c.

This handbook supplies essential, updated, official information on Malta, with concise descriptive articles (including statistics) on all Government Departments. This edition covers the 1977-78 period, and is well printed and illustrated (though of course there is ample room for improvement in this respect). It sells at the almost nominal price of 30c. Those who are interested in Malta and the Maltese should certainly obtain a copy of such a useful reference book. The contents are divided into the following main items: Malta and the Maltese; a brief historical outline; administration; social development; the economy; public services and communications; living in Malta; reference section; diary of events 1976. The cultural and historical items, though sound and balanced on the whole, would need revision in order to enhance their professional reliability. There are some odd, unsubstantiated, sweeping statements such as the following: "Towards the end of the ninth century the Arabs [...] affected the structure of Punic Maltese to a considerable degree. Up to the end of the Arab domination the structure of Maltese remained purely Semitic" (p. 13); "The legal system of Malta stems off from the doctrine of the separation of powers which was first clearly laid down in Malta by Sir Thomas Maitland in 1815, early during the British connection" (p. 41).

G. Mangion