Climate Change, Lifestyle Habits, ISIS, Britcoms, American Voting | Reference Short Takes, February 1, 2017

Bedford, Daniel & John Cook. Climate Change: Examining the Facts. ABC-CLIO. Jul. 2016. 214p. index. ISBN 9781440835681. $63; ebk. ISBN 9781440835698. REF

Seeking for conversations to “shift beyond the basic climatechange.jpg21617questions that have been settled for some years,” Bedford (geography, Weber State Univ., UT) and Cook (climate communications fellow, Global Change Inst., Univ. of Queensland, Australia; founder, SkepticalScience.com) address 35 of the “most common questions about our understanding of climate change.” In five chapters, they cover the fact-based evidence that climate is changing, that human activity has been the cause, the current and projected impact, the “robust scientific consensus,” and prospects for addressing its challenges. VERDICT A helpful baseline for this highly charged, scientifically complex topic.

Bevan, Thomas E. Being Transgender: What You Should Know. Praeger: ABC-CLIO. Nov. 2016. 240p. index. ISBN 9781440845246. $48; ebk. ISBN 9781440845253. REF

“Being transgender can be hard to understand but science provides definitions, evidence and facts that can be clear,” notes biopsychologist Bevan, who publishes under her legal name (Thomas) yet is known in the transgender and academic communities as Dana Jennett Bevan. In this book, Bevan draws on analysis of more than 3,000 scientific articles as well as her own and other transgender experiences to provide a primer on the roles biology and culture play in the development of transgender identity and expression. VERDICT An accessible, enlightening compendium.

Goldstein, Myrna Chandler & Mark A. Goldstein. The 50 Healthiest Habits and Lifestyle Changes. Greenwood. Jul. 2016. 303p. notes. index. ISBN 9781440834714. $58; ebk. ISBN 9781440834721. REF

Scholar and freelance writer Myra and Mark (pediatrics, Harvard Medical Sch.) Goldstein, a husband-and-wife team who wrote Healthy Foods: Fact Versus Fiction, present 50 tips to help jump-start a healthy new year. Grouped within seven categories (food, exercise, medical care, safety, mental/social health, sex/dating, and a catchall “Other Lifestyle Choices” section), the tips include “Don’t Skip Breakfast,” “Prevent Sports Injuries,” “Build Connections and Friendships with Peers,” and “Limit Screen Time.” Each recommendation is then developed and discussed in individual entries consisting of several pages and concluding with an accompanying references/resources listing. VERDICT A handy overview of actionable wellness insights.

Newton, David E. Youth Substance Abuse. ABC-CLIO. (Contemporary World Issues). Jul. 2016. 350p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781440839825. $61; ebk. ISBN 9781440839832. REF

Prolific author Newton (Substance Abuse) begins this guide with a startling statistic: drug abuse, specifically among young white males, was recently revealed to be the number one factor responsible for a major death rate spike not seen since the Vietnam War era. Narrative chapters provide context, definitions, and a history of substance abuse, including the types and effects of commonly consumed drugs (such as alcohol) and methods for prevention and treatment. He also dedicates a chapter to substance abuse specifically among teenagers. VERDICT A solid option for anyone studying or dealing with this deadly issue.

Steed, Brian L. ISIS: An Introduction and Guide to the Islamic State. ABC-CLIO. Jun. 2016. 197p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781440849862. $58; ebk. ISBN 9781440849879. REF

U.S. Army Middle East foreign area officer Steed (military history, the United States Army Staff Command and General Staff Coll.; Piercing the Fog of War) offers an informative overview of what he terms the current “only post-state actor in conflict with the global community,” i.e., ISIS, which is “seeking to be a state using a nontraditional, non-Western model.” This work consists of short narrative chapters addressing basic questions about the group (its leaders, history, ideals, etc.), followed by entries that delve further into specific people and issues (Osama bin Laden, caliphate, etc.) Steed notes that he intends this book to be a “reference for thinking about this war,” in which readers can “begin a journey toward empathy, which I believe is also the necessary path for the journey toward victory.” VERDICT A multifaceted, contextual snapshot of this troubling world force.

Thompson, Dave. Britcoms FAQ: All That’s Left To Know About Our Favorite Sophisticated, Outrageous British Television Comedies. Applause. Sept. 2016. 384p. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781495018992. pap. $19.99. REF

This celebratory survey of British comedy TV series from expat Brit Thompson (The Twilight Zone FAQ) kicks off by praising Fawlty Towers progenitor Tony Hancock, whose 1950s Hancock’s Half-Hour is, according to Thompson, “the great British sitcom of all time,” then proceeds with thematic chapters extolling the particular and peculiar charms of The Vicar of Dibley, The Last of the Summer Wine, and many more. Various appendixes (recommended viewing/audio recordings lists, sitcom-to-screen adaptations, etc.) are included. VERDICT Provides trivia and amusement aplenty for Anglophile comedy aficionados.

Why Don’t Americans Vote? Causes and Consequences. ABC-CLIO. Jul. 2016. 227p. ed. by Bridgett A. King & Kathleen Hale. index. ISBN 9781440841156. $40; ebk. ISBN 9781440841163. REF

King and Hale (both, political science, Auburn Univ.) showcase 20 academic essays that explore why voter participation rates have dropped from a high of 80 percent in the 1800s to an average turnout of 50–60 percent, with few exceptions, ever since the 1900s. As the editors note, “no one administrative rule, psychological orientation or voting registration policy can fully explain why an individual may not vote on Election Day,” so contributors instead provide exploration into these and many other components that factor into today’s disaffected voter climate. There are several appendixes (timely enough to include several notations for “Trump”). VERDICT Critical context for a worrisome political trend.—Judy Quinn, formerly with Library Journal

This article was published in Library Journal's February 1, 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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