Trefil, James. Space Atlas: Mapping the Universe and Beyond. National Geographic, dist. by Random. 2012. c.336p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781426209710. $50. REF
This is a stunningly beautiful and informative guide to the planets, stars, and beyond. Chapters on “The Solar System,” “The Galaxy,” “The Universe,” and “Mysteries,” accompanied by full-color photographs, computer graphics, and other illustrations, will entice readers to learn about what is beyond our world. Many topics are covered in a spread each, while some subjects—the birth of the solar system, for example—have several spreads devoted to them. Brief biographies credit and introduce scientists who made important discoveries—for example, one profile discusses Edwin Hubble, a scientist who transformed human understanding of the universe and who was also an outstanding athlete, choosing science over a career as a professional boxer. The finding aids and other extras in this guide make it highly user friendly. These include a table of facts about the planets with information about the planetary satellites alphabetically arranged under each planet heading; facts about notable deep-sky objects—the stars, star clusters, galaxies, nebulae, etc. found beyond our solar system; a list of map terms—e.g., corona (singular) coronae (plural) meaning an ovoid feature; and a general index that has the page numbers of illustrations and the biographies of pertinent scientists bolded. VERDICT A gorgeous, fact-filled must for reference sections.—Frances Eaton Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Wooldridge, William C. Mapping Virginia: From the Age of Exploration to the Civil War. Univ. of Virginia Pr. 2012. 392p. bibliog. index. maps. ISBN 9780813932675. $94.95. REF
Wooldridge (former president, John Marshall Foundation and Norfolk Historical Society) gathers here 301 maps and related documents from a cartographical collection assembled by him over 40 years that now belongs to the Virginia Cartographical Society. In his preface, the author succinctly states his purpose: “This book illustrates, places in historical context, and provides detailed listings of both the vast majority of the printed maps of Virginia before 1830, and a large group of printed Virginia Civil War maps. It is a resource for collectors, geographers, historians, and history fans, and a diversion for all those who simply take pleasure in admiring these artful delineations of the commonwealth. The author has succeeded on all counts with this volume of beautifully reproduced, full-color maps accompanied by commentary that empowers the general reader to explore the “idea of Virginia” and the evolution of its boundaries. Entries include date, sponsor/engraver, publisher, context, full title, size to neat lines, and bibliographical references. VERDICT This fascinating and lavish volume will appeal to map mavens everywhere as well as collectors of Virginiana. An alternate choice is Virginia in Maps: Four Centuries of Settlement, Growth, and Development (Library of Virginia, 2000).—Edward K. Werner, St. Lucie Cty. Lib. Syst., Ft. Pierce, FL
Kabatchnik, Amnon. Blood on the Stage, 1975–2000: Milestone Plays of Crime, Mystery and Detection. Scarecrow. 2012. 646p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780810883543. $125. REF
Kabatchnik (Sherlock Holmes on the Stage) lists featured plays of the era in chronological order, providing synopsis and background, critical reception, and playwright information (previous entries in the series covered 1900-25, 1925-50 and 1950-75). Not meant to be an exhaustive list, this is more of a sampling of more than 80 plays of crime and mystery. Some musicals ( Chicago , Sweeney Todd , Phantom of the Opera ) are also explored since they deal with mystery and/or crime. Plays based on literary classics such as Jane Eyre(1997), Dracula (1980, ’95) and notable works American Buffalo by David Mamet, Buried Child by Sam Shepard, and M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang are examined. Three versions of The Hound of the Baskervilles (1976, ’78, ’82) and other Holmes plays are also highlighted here. Some listed plays that are not very well known include Moose Murders , which was a “legendary flop,” and Anthony Shaffer’s (known for Sleuth) poorly reviewed Whodunnit ; and Tricks of the Trade (1980), which closed after one performance. Appendixes provide more specific theater information such as “Twentieth Century Death Row Plays” and “Twentieth Century Courtroom Dramas.” The profiles are concise and place the plays in a historical context. Useful quotes from reviews give an idea of how a play was received at the time. Although it is part of a series, this title can stand alone. VERDICT A niche resource with genre appeal. While the title will likely find use in academic theater collections, mystery theater buffs will also enjoy it. —Barbara Kundanis, Longmont P.L., CO
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The following titles are reviewed in the February 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.
Carpenter, Roger M. American Indian History Day by Day: A Reference Guide to Events. Greenwood. 2012. 422p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313382222. $89. REF
Hannings, Bud. The War of 1812: A Complete Chronology with Biographies of 63 General Officers. McFarland. 2012. 399p. maps. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780786463855. $145. REF
Encyclopedia of Energy. 4 vols. Salem Pr. 2012. 384p. ed. by Morris A. Pierce. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781587658495. $123.75. REF
Dando, William A. Food and Famine in the 21st Century. 2 vols. ABC-CLIO. 860p. 2012. $189. ISBN 9781598847307. REF
Voices of Unbelief: Documents from Atheists and Agnostics. Greenwood. ( Voices of an Era). 2012. 278p. ed. by Dale Mcgowan. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781598849783. $100. REF
The Praeger Handbook of Veteran’s Health: History, Challenges, Issues, and Developments. 4 vols. Praeger. 2012. 1570p. ed. by Thomas E. Miller. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313383496. $257. REF