American Civil War: The Definitive Encyclopedia and Document Collection. 6 vols. ABC-CLIO. 2013. 2777p. ed. by Spencer C. Tucker. photos. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781851096770. $625; ebk. ISBN 9781851096824. REF
The American Civil War has never suffered from lack of scholarly attention. This “definitive” resource on a topic of perennial concern efficiently canvasses all the battles, generals, and campaigns in addition to the war’s politics, economics, and home front concerns. Prefaced by a pithy four-page overview of the conflict, this set quickly gets down to business. Its 2,648 alphabetically arranged entries range in length from a few paragraphs on peripheral subjects to several pages on more pertinent terms such as the Union blockade of the Confederacy and Union general Ulysses S. Grant. The editors have done a remarkable job of incorporating judicious explanations for general matters such as abolitionism, fortifications, tactics, and women alongside well-chosen specifics including John Wilkes Booth, Ex Parte Milligan, and the Trent Affair. The writing is consistently of high quality; cross-referencing is a breeze with the multitude of “see also” terms at the end of each entry. Appendix material includes an exposition of military ranks, an exceptional glossary, and a 64-page chronology. The final volume consists of 172 related documents, poems, and photographs that add substantially to the user’s understanding of the war’s historical context. Examples of documents include Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” (July 5, 1852), John C. Frémont’s “Proclamation Freeing Slaves of Missouri” (August 30, 1861), and Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural address (March 4, 1865). Each document opens with a brief introduction, providing the reader with a necessary amount of historical context. Rounding out the set are both a highly useful categorical index and a general index. VERDICT With these wide-ranging, exhaustively researched volumes, Tucker has accomplished for the American Civil War what he has previously achieved for many other conflicts, from Korea to the Cold War. An excellent resource for school research projects and anyone with an interest in Civil War history.
Sexually Transmitted Disease: An Encyclopedia of Diseases, Prevention, Treatment, and Issues. 2 vols. Greenwood. 2013. 784p. ed. by Jill Grimes & others. index. ISBN 9781440801341. $189; ebk. ISBN 9781440801358. REF
Covering all aspects of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), this broad, succinct title offers medical, legal, social, and research information on “underlying infectious agents, diagnostic tests, treatment, prevention, and legal implications…,” plus current resources for additional research. Arranged in dictionary format, the 240 entries written by 85 contributors from medical, legal, research, pharmacy, patient advocate, and community activist disciplines range in length from two paragraphs (e.g., “Dane, David [1923–1998]”) to six pages (e.g., “Date Rape and Drink Spiking”) and include short biographies, diseases, medical conditions that may be caused by STD exposure, social issues, treatment options, information on drug use and disease prevention, and statistics. Disease and illness articles include a description of the condition, history, symptoms, treatment, prevention, and a bibliography. Examples of other entries include some on condoms (male and female), Christopher Columbus, malaria, pregnancy, circumcision, HPV, and PID. Some articles have black-and-white illustrations, case studies, a list of helpful organizations and websites, or court case summaries. The STD time line is particularly interesting as it illustrates the history of this disease class beginning with Hippocrates in 400 BCE and ending with the 2012 Phase 3 trial of a herpes vaccine. While the articles are broad, their bibliographies will be of help to those looking to explore more in depth. Extensive cross references, a detailed index, and a topical guide pull together disparate entries for improved reader access. VERDICT Simply written, this title will be of interest to both the general public and undergraduate students studying health care, sociology, and social work.
Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. World Clothing and Fashion: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Social Influence. 2 vols. Sharpe Reference. 2013. 832p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780765683007. $249. REF
This set is suitable for those in middle school through undergraduate studies to gain an understanding of clothing and fashion through the lenses of history, culture, and social influence. The title not only looks at dress as a way to cover the body, or not cover it, but also how clothing is a way to trace history of groups through their costuming habits. The 313 major entries look at people, communities, materials, and meanings of clothing, throughout time, with several photographs included as well. Each entry is organized with subheadings and includes cross-references and suggestions for further reading. They offer a basic overview of each topic, which is suitable for younger or novice users, and will serve well as a jumping-off point for more advanced researchers. Of great use to students and amateur researchers is a topic finder, which organizes the entries into categories such as accessories and adornments, art and media, biographies, clothing types (functions, purposes, groups), clothing items and parts, component materials, holiday and event costumes, the creation and care of clothing, merchandising and commerce, techniques and trades/professions, and trends and movements. The title also examines historical periods and styles worldwide and local styles, both with a strong emphasis on the United States and England. VERDICT This work will be useful to students creating reports on cultures, geographies, costuming for theater, advertising, biographies of subjects such as Amelia Bloomer and Vera Wang, and clothing manufacturing.
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Messenger, Charles. The D-Day Atlas: Anatomy of the Normandy Campaign. 2d ed. Thames & Hudson. Mar. 2014. 176p. illus. maps. ISBN 9780500291191. pap. $24.95. REF
Crompton, Samuel Willard. The Handy Civil War Answer Book. Visible Ink. Apr. 2014. 500p. photos. maps. ISBN 9781578594764. pap. $21.95; ebk. ISBN 9781578594962. REF
Danilov, Victor J. Famous Americans: A Directory of Museums, Historic Sites, and Memorials. Scarecrow. 2013. 419p. photos. index. ISBN 9780810891852. $95; ebk. ISBN 9780810891869. $94.99. REF