2005 booklist editors choice reference sources


Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. 2d ed. 5v. Ed. by Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates Jr. 2005. 703p. Oxford, $500 (0-19-517055-5).

Chronicling the history and culture of people of African descent, Africana is updated and greatly expanded from the one-volume 1999 edition. Other reference sources generally focus on either Africa or the U.S, but Africana is notable for its global coverage beyond just the Western perspective.

Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution. Ed. by Richard S. Levy. 2005. 828p. ABC-CLIO, $185 (1-85109-439-3); e-book, $200 (1-85109-444-X).

While the history of anti-Semitism is long and the literature voluminous, there are surprisingly few reference works providing an overview. This specialized historical encyclopedia is notable for remarkably eclectic coverage and scrupulous objectivity.

Berkshire Encyclopedia of World Sport. 4v. Ed. by David Levinson and Karen Christensen. 2005. 2,000p. Berkshire, $475 (0-9743091-1-7).

Entries touching a wide sport spectrum illuminate the larger context within which sport takes place instead of focusing on statistics, rules of the game, and biographical profiles. The aim is to hook students with sports and simultaneously inform them about topics such as history, culture, ethnicity, and international relations.

Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists. 4v. Ed. by Lawrence Gowing. 2005. 784p. Facts On File, $260 (0-8160-5803-2).

Facts On File Encyclopedia of Art. 5v. Ed. by Lawrence Gowing. 2005. 1,024p. Facts On File, $325 (0-8160-5797-4).

These fine companion sets fill a gap in the art reference collection by providing A–Z access not found in standard art history surveys, and user-friendly features, including a wealth of color illustrations, missing from the magisterial Grove Dictionary of Art.

Black Women in America. 2d ed.3v.Ed. by Darlene Clark Hine. 2005. 1,680p. Oxford, $325 (0-19-515677-3).

There has been an explosion in scholarship about black women since the first edition of this landmark reference work was published in 1993. In the second edition, coverage has been extended through 2004, and new knowledge is reflected in the many entries that have been added, restructured, or revised.

Encyclopedia Latina: History, Culture, and Society in the United States. 4v. Ed. by Ilan Stavans. 2005. 1,920p. Grolier, $499 (0-7172-5815-7).

As the name implies, this impressive encyclopedia explores the many roles Latinos have played in the U.S. Its broad historical sweep and multidisciplinary coverage make it an indispensable reference resource for collections serving Latino populations.

Encyclopedia of African History. 3v. Ed. by Kevin Shillington. 2004. Routledge, $495 (1-57958-245-1).

In the most in-depth reference work on the history of the continent as a whole, a third of the matter is devoted to ancient Africa through the eighteenth century, while the remainder details the history of each region and modern state from the nineteenth century to the recent past.

Encyclopedia of Disability. 5v. Ed. by Gary L. Albrecht. 2005. 2,500p. Sage, $850 (0-7619-2565-1).

A broad range of interdisciplinary coverage distinguishes this set, which was designed to present to both the general reader and specialist “current knowledge and experience with disability across a wide variety of places, conditions, and cultures.” The collection of documents in volume 5 is the first compilation of disability-related primary-source material.

Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity. 3v. Ed. by Dinah L. Shelton. 2004. 1,458p. Macmillan, $345 (0-02-865847-7).

Every continent and likely every people have had their share of crimes against humanity, and while the impact of the Nazi Holocaust drives much of this work, the editorial team has cast its net wide to create an outstanding comprehensive sourcebook that will be the standard resource for many years.

The Encyclopedia of New England. Ed. by Burt Feintuch and David H. Watters. 2005. 1,564p. Yale, $65 (0-300-10027-2).

The six New England states share a strong regional character, and this encyclopedia uses a thematic approach to explore both their similarities and their differences. As with many other state and regional encyclopedias, the volume was heavily underwritten, making it a substantial work that comes at a bargain price.

The Encyclopedia of New York State. Ed. by Peter Eisenstadt and Laura-Eve Moss. 2005. 1,921p. Syracuse Univ., $95 (0-8156-0808-X).

Seven years from idea to fruition and supported with major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the New York State Legislature, this ambitious project is a definite success. In addition to the breadth of coverage, there is a specificity and depth to the writing that are not often found in a subject encyclopedia.

Encyclopedia of North American Immigration. By John Powell. 2005. 464p. Facts On File, $75 (0-8160-4658-1).

Five hundred years of immigration history is a big subject to cover in one volume, made even bigger here by the inclusion of Canada. But the Canada-related content really adds value, supporting a more global perspective and making the volume equally useful in libraries in Canada and the U.S.—a statement that can be made about few reference books.

Encyclopedia of Racism in the United States. 3v.Ed. by Pyong Gap Min. 2005. 900p. Greenwood, $249.95 (0-313-32688-6).

No other reference source deals with racism as comprehensively as this one, which covers the topic from the late eighteenth century to the present. In addition to clearly written entries, this multidisciplinary set contains a variety of primary documents.

Encyclopedia of Religion. 2d ed. 15v. Ed. by Lindsay Jones. 2005. Macmillan, $1,295 (0-02-865733-0).

When the Encyclopedia of Religion was published in 1987 under the editorship of Mircea Eliade, it was hailed as a breakthrough. While not departing significantly from its predecessor, the second edition contains added topics, updates, and revisions that reflect both recent events and recent trends in scholarship. A fine example of keeping a landmark reference source alive, rather than allowing it to be overtaken by new developments and new insights. (Top of the List winner—Reference Source.)

Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. 4v. Ed. by Carl Mitcham. 2005. 1,800p. Macmillan, $425 (0-02-865831-0).

A refreshing synthesis of issues spanning more disciplines than the title would at first indicate, this timely work provides a superb introduction to a variety of topics related to the moral dimensions of almost every conceivable area of ethics in science and technology—and beyond.

Encyclopedia of Television. 2d ed. 4v. Ed. by Horace Newcomb. 2004. 2,600p. Routledge, $595 (1-57958-394-6).

When the first edition was published in 1997, it was greeted by highly favorable reviews. With a significant amount of new material as well as substantial revision and updating, the second edition upholds its claim to be the most comprehensive and up-to-date compendium on television broadcasting.

The Encyclopedia of World War II: A Political, Social, and Military History. 5v. Ed. by Spencer C. Tucker. 2005. 2,251p. ABC-CLIO, $485 (1-57607-999-6); e-book, $530 (1-57607-095-6).

Overseen by Tucker, editor of the award-winning Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War (1998), among other titles, this work provides an international perspective on people; key battles, campaigns, and events; military equipment and strategy; and other topics related to the Second World War, and also sheds light on the war’s impact on postwar society.

The Fifties in America. 3v. Ed. by John Super. 2005. 1,152p. Salem, $331 (1-58765-202-1).

For an audience of general readers and students, this set seeks to survey the events and people in both the U.S. and Canada during the years 1950–59. Information is presented in the publisher’s trademark accessible and easily digested style, combining quick fact summaries with in-depth essays.

The Gale Encyclopedia of Children’s Health: Infancy through Adolescence. 4v. Ed. by Kristine Krapp and Jeffrey Wilson. 2005. 2,178p. Gale, $550 (1-7876-9241-7).

A current, comprehensive resource written specifically about diseases, conditions, and other health issues affecting children is a welcome addition to library collections.

The Greenwood Library of American War Reporting. 8v. Ed. by David A. Copeland. 2005. 4,000p. Greenwood, $995 (0-313-33435-8).

Beginning in 1753 and ending in April 2004 with photographs depicting the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, these volumes offer primary documents, mainly newspaper and magazine articles and radio and television transcripts. Indispensable to the study of war reporting and the most definitive, up-to-date reference work available on the subject.

Historical Fiction: A Guide to the Genre. By Sarah L. Johnson. 2005. 836p. Libraries Unlimited, $75 (1-59158-129-X).

This new entry in the publisher’s Genreflecting Advisory Series covers historical fiction in all its many forms, defining the genre and analyzing its appeal to help librarians better understand what draws readers. An essential tool for developing collections and advising patrons.

New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. 6v. Ed. by Maryanne Cline Horowitz. 2004. 2,780p. Scribner, $695 (0-684-31377-4).

The update to the original Dictionary of the History of Ideas, which was published in 1974, is well worth the wait. An entirely new work, rather than a mere revision, it features over twice as many articles as the original, as well as a more definite global view.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. 4v. Ed. by Suzanne Oboler and Deena J. Gonzalez. 2005. 2,344p. Oxford, $525 (0-19-515600-5).

Reflecting the growing importance of Latino studies, this is the second major Latino/Latina encyclopedia to appear this year, following Grolier’s Encyclopedia Latina: History, Culture, and Society in the United States. There is room on the reference shelf for both, especially when one of them is backed by the authority and prestige of Oxford University Press.

Universe: The Definitive Visual Guide. Ed. by Martin Rees. 2005. 512p. DK, $50 (0-7566-1364-7).

Written by a team of astronomers and science writers in language accessible to high-school students and the general reader, this book should be of interest to anyone who appreciates the wonders of the universe and would enjoy a beautifully illustrated guided tour by experts. The stunning illustrations alone make it well worth the modest cost.

World Cultures Today: Exploring Everyday Life around the Globe [Internet database]. Greenwood, $595 [http://www.greenwood.com].

Here is a database that is equally useful for checking quick facts, compiling introductory material, or conducting in-depth research. Combining breadth of information with an exceptionally accessible interface, it complements Greenwood’s Daily Life through History, and both are components of the publisher’s Daily Life Online.

Awards Won

Title Year
Booklist Editors' Choice: Reference Sources
Titles were reviewed in RBB from February 2006 through January 2007. All the titles are intended for a general readership at the high-school level and up. For our pick of the crop for students, see “Twenty Best Bets for Student Researchers” in the September 1 issue.
2005 - Selection(s)