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January 1&15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Booklist Editors' Choice
It’s hard to pick a list of favorites from among the many noteworthy reference sources that come across our desk each year. These titles were selected by the editor of RBB because they offer a fresh experience in terms of subject matter or approach. With a few important exceptions, we chose resources that are completely new, and also favored those likely to have broad appeal. Then we threw in a few that we just enjoyed spending time with. All titles were published in 2001 and reviewed in RBB from January 2001 through January 2002.
Aquatic Life of the World. 11v. 2001. 704p. Marshall Cavendish, $329.95 (0-7614-7170-7).
Stunning photos enhance a set that takes an A-Z tour of water creatures, plants, and habitats, from oceans to ponds. Well-organized and clearly written, this resource could be useful for students both younger and older than the designated audience of grades four through six.
booksinprint.com. [Internet database]. 2001. Bowker, pricing from $1,495.
For years, librarians have been struggling with the many print volumes from the Books in Print stable--crucial to our work but hard to read and out of date as soon as they land on our desks. Now we can have it all in one well-organized, easy-to-search database. This is one of the best uses of the Web that we’ve seen.
County Name Origins of the United States. By Michael A. Beatty. 2001. 671p. McFarland, $150 (0-7864-1025-6).
If you’ve been bedeviled by questions about how Waldo County, Maine, or Banner County, Nebraska, or Tulare County, California, got their names, not to worry, because here’s a book that explains it all for you. This is a classic example of a unique and useful reference work resulting from years spent in pursuit of a private interest.
Dangerous Planet: The Science of Natural Disasters. 3v. By Phillis Engelbert. 2001. 446p. UXL, $130 (0-7876-2848-4).
A topic of great interest for kids is treated in a way that satisfies curiosity but also manages to sneak in a lot of science. Using a disaster-by-disaster format, UXL exercises its usual selectivity, focusing on the kinds of events that the middle-school audience will find most fascinating.
Depression America. 6v. 2001. Grolier, $319 (0-7172-5502-6).
Multivolume sets with strong visual elements are often aimed at the upper-elementary and middle-school grades, but here is one designed for high-school students. The thematic approach provides context, and layout and design draw interest. This resource helps remind us that the printed page can still make a topic come alive, even for an older audience.
The Eleanor Roosevelt Encyclopedia. Ed. by Maurine H. Beasley and others. 2001. 628p. Greenwood, $65 (0-313-30181-6).
A bevy of noted historians contributed to this work, which examines the many roles of our foremost First Lady. Given Roosevelt’s significance and appeal, this volume is an exception to the rule that encyclopedic treatments of single individuals belong only in larger collections.
Encyclopedia of African and African-American Religions. Ed. by Stephen B. Glazier. 2001. 452p. Routledge, $125 (0-415-92245-3).
Among the reference sources on African and African American religions, this one stands out because it takes a more global view. Not only does it cover religious expression in Africa and North America, but it also gives attention to African-derived religions in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.
Encyclopedia of African History and Culture. 3v. By Willie F. Page. 2001. Facts On File, $247.50 (0-8160-4472-4).
This survey of African history from the earliest stages to 1850 fills a gap in the reference collection, especially for students and general readers.
The Encyclopedia of American Immigration. 4v. Ed. by James Ciment. 2001. 1,638p. Sharpe, $399 (0-7656-8028-9).
A series of well-written essays and a collection of primary materials shed light on the immigration experience and its effect on America from earliest times to the present day. The set’s four major parts, focusing on history, contemporary issues, immigrant groups in America, and related documents, provide an expansive and multifaceted view.
Encyclopedia of American Studies. 4v. Ed. by George T. Kurian and others. 2001. 2,000p. Grolier, $399 (0-7172-9222-3).
The first title in Grolier’s new series of academic encyclopedias seeks to map the growing field of American studies. See our full review on p.890.
Encyclopedia of Gardens: History and Design. 3v. Ed. by Candice A. Shoemaker. 2001. 1,545p. Fitzroy Dearborn, $385 (1-57958-173-0).
The publisher scored a hit with its Museum of Broadcast Communications Encyclopedia of Television (1997), and this new collaboration, this time with the Chicago Botanic Garden, should be just as well received. See our full review on p.894.
Encyclopedia of Jewish Life before and during the Holocaust. Ed. by Shmuel Spector and Geoffrey Wigoder. 3v. 2001. 1,769p. New York Univ., $395 (0-8147-9378-9).
In 1953, the Israeli Parliament passed the Yad Vashem Remembrance Authority Law to perpetuate the memory of what the Nazis destroyed. One result of the law was a 30-volume Hebrew-language encyclopedia, of which this publication is a translation and condensation. It documents more than 6,500 Jewish communities that were thriving in the early part of the twentieth century and then were systematically obliterated.
Encyclopedia of the United States in the Nineteenth Century. 3v. Ed. by Paul Finkelman. 2001. Scribner, $325 (0-684-80500-6).
This wide-ranging resource designed for both students and specialists comes with impeccable scholarly credentials. More than 600 articles survey the central events, issues, and ideas that shaped “the century that made America.” The editorial staff used the National Standards for United States History as their benchmark for deciding what to include.
Encyclopedia of Urban Legends. Ed. by Jan Harold Brunvand. 2001. 525p. ABC-CLIO, $75 (1-57607-076-X).
Real scholarship is applied to the weird, often apocryphal stories of modern oral tradition in this volume edited by “the foremost authority on urban legends.” The reader can look here for serious discussions of urban-legends studies as an academic discipline, as well as explications of “The Choking Doberman,” “Bozo the Clown’s Blooper,” and other examples of modern-day lore.
Encyclopedia of Women in the Ancient World. By Joyce Salisbury. 2001. 370p. ABC-CLIO, $75 (1-57607-092-1).
Biographies of individual women from ancient Western civilization are interspersed with entries on topics such as clothing, work, and sexuality. The thematic discussions provide background and context, which are often missing from other biographical encyclopedias.
Food Safety Information Handbook. By Cynthia A. Roberts. 2001. 312p. Oryx, $52.50 (1-57356-305-6).
As an aid to both research and collection development, this guide is everything it should be--authoritative, well organized, and comprehensive. Added to that, the book seems even more timely now than it did when it first appeared.
Learning about the Holocaust: A Student’s Guide. 4v. Ed. by Ronald M. Smelser. 2001. 1,082p. Macmillan, $375 (0-02-865536-2).
Another of this publisher’s excellent adaptations of larger sets (in this case the distinguished Encyclopedia of the Holocaust), revised for high-school students. Emphasis is on topics that meet the needs and interests of the audience, presented in an attractive and accessible way.
Magill’s Guide to Military History. 5v. Ed. by John Powell. 2001. Salem, $450 (0-89356-014-6).Weapons and Warfare. 2v. Ed. by John Powell. 2002. Salem, $185 (1-58765-000-2).
These two sets are fine on their own, but we like them even better when they are considered together, since each one complements the other. Guide to Military History presents a sweeping A-Z view of wars, battles, and people or groups of people that have played significant roles in the history of warfare, while the topically arranged Weapons and Warfare (reviewed on p.900) homes in on military tactics and technology.
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2d ed. 29v. Ed. by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. 2001. Grove’s, $4,850; $3,880 when combined with online subscripton (1-56159-239-0).The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. [Internet database]. Ed. by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. 2001. Grove’s, library pricing starting at $1,200.
There was no more important reference publishing event in 2001 than the release of the second edition of New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the definitive music reference source, in both print and online versions. With this edition, we probably say good-bye to the largest single-subject encyclopedia in the world in its print form, while we look forward to what editor Stanley Sadie called the “exciting and challenging possibilities” of its electronic future. (Top of the List winner--Reference Source. )
Organizing Black America: An Encyclopedia of African American Associations. Ed. by Nina Mjagkij. 2001. 768p. Routledge, $125 (0-8153-2309-3).
Associations played a crucial role in African American communities, especially during a time when racism excluded blacks from other opportunities for development and leadership. Unparalleled in scope, this encyclopedia makes an important contribution to African American studies by pulling together information on a variety of voluntary organizations.
The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare. Ed. by Michael Dobson and Stanley Wells. 2001. 529p. Oxford, $45 (0-19-811735-3).
This new Oxford Companion illuminates not only Shakespeare’s life and works but also the many forms that interpretation of Shakespeare has taken in the centuries since his death. See our full review on p.898.
The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures: The Civilizations of Mexico and Central America. 3v. Ed. by David Carrasco. 2001. 1,424p. Oxford, $395 (0-19-510815-9).
The first major reference source on Mesoamerican cultures to appear in 25 years takes advantage of recent breakthroughs and advances in scholarship. Instead of drawing a line between the prehistoric and postconquest civilizations of Mexico and Central America, the encyclopedia presents us with a continuum that begins with the Olmecs and extends into the present day.
Plants and Plant Life. 10v. By Jill Bailey. 2001. 640p. Grolier, $279 (0-7172-9510-9).
Using a conceptual rather than an A-Z approach, this intensely visual set abounds with colorful photographs, illustrations, maps, charts, and diagrams. Although it is geared for middle-and junior-high-school students, high schools might also want to purchase it for its broad introduction to the complex principles of botany.
Shakespeare’s World and Work. 3v. Ed by John F. Andrews. 2001. 750p. Scribner, $295 (0-684-80629-0).
Designed expressly for high-school students, this volume complements its examination of Shakespeare as literature with glimpses of the customs, beliefs, politics, and historical personages that had an impact on his writing. An attractive design and many student-friendly features help make a challenging topic palatable and even appealing.
Terror Television: American Series, 1970–1999. By John Kenneth Muir. 2001. 675p. McFarland, $75 (0-7864-0890-1).
Muir takes an in-depth look at programs ranging from Rod Serling’s Night Gallery to Angel. Fans and researchers will appreciate the detailed episode-by-episode documentation, and even nonfans will be engaged by Muir’s informed and opinionated analyses.
Women Building Chicago, 1790-1990: A Biographical Dictionary. Ed. by Rima Lunin Schultz and Adele Hast. 2001. 1,088p. Indiana Univ., $75 (0-253-33852-2).
Though focused on Chicago, this book is an important contribution to a larger women’s history.
World Eras: Classical Greek Civilization. v.6: 800-323 B.C.E. Ed. by John T. Kirby. 2001. 395p. Gale, $95 (0-7876-1707-5).World Eras: European Renaissance and Reformation. v.1: 1350-1600. Ed. by Norman J. Wilson. 2001. 522p. Gale, $95 (0-7876-1706-7).
These are the first published volumes in what will be an eight-volume series looking at how cultural, economic, political, and social developments intersected with daily life in different historical periods and civilizations. Gale has applied the same cross-disciplinary approach before in the American Decades and American Eras series, but it doesn’t seem to get stale.
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