Reference Reviews | December 15, 2005

By LJ Staff

American Health: Demographics and Spending of Health Care Consumers. New Strategist. 2005. 504p. bibliog. index. ISBN 1-885070-74-8. $89.95. REF

A wealth of published information and an array of programs and conferences suggest how important consumers are to the providers and planners of healthcare in the United States. Based on data available but scattered in such resources as the Consumer Expenditure Survey, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, and Health, United States, among other federal publications and web sites, this reference work portrays the status of healthcare and the services available to the U.S. public. It is a sequel to the Amber Jewelry, Tea Sets, Sleeping Bags, Wholesale Tea Sets publisher’s well-received Best of Health, featuring more than 300 tables (twice as many as Health, United States) that show the demographics of consumers and identifying patterns in 14 areas: addiction; attitudes toward healthcare; alternative medicine; aging; healthcare warts; births; healthcare coverage, cost, and visits; deaths; disability; diseases and conditions; hospital care; mental health; sexual attitudes and behavior; and weight and exercise. Bottom Line Aside from one minor criticism – there is no information about the editors of this work and their qualifications – this resource will be a welcome addition to the marketing and health collections of public and academic libraries. [Sample pages and more general information are available on the publisher’s web site at – Ed.]Margaret K. Norden, MarymountUniv., Arlington, VA

Barrett, Ted. The Complete Encyclopedia of Golf. Triumph Bks. 2005. 288p. photogs. index. ISBN 1-57243-773-1 [ISBN 978-1-57243-788-3]. $29.95. REF

The title of this book is a bit presumptuous. It implies that nothing has been left out – clearly a tall order for any compendium on golf. One does not have to look too hard to think of omissions: the list of clubs omits the cleek; the list of golfers omits Moe Norman; the list of courses omits Troon (a venue in the rota for the British Open Championship). A modern encyclopedia might also include a top-ten list of instructors and swing theories, club and component manufacturer, and long drive championships. It is also interesting that Barrett, a former sports editor for the Daily Telegraph, uses the American nomenclature ‘British Open’ as opposed to the British ‘The Open Championship.’ Even so, his encyclopedia covers substantial territory while also containing a significant number of color photographs (about 300) that highlight and nicely complement the text. Bottom Line As in any encyclopedia, this information will date quickly, especially given annual tournament schedules. Its flaws notwithstanding, this work will be of interest to most general collections. An alternative is Malcolm Campbell’s The New Encyclopedia of Golf.Steven Silkunas, North Wales, PA

Collins Handy World Atlas. HarperCollins. 2005. 256p. maps. index. ISBN 0-06-082576-6. pap. $14.95. REF

Containing more than 100 pages of maps and geographical data, this well-organized paperback indexes 20,000 place names from around the globe, providing an innovative way to view the world through state-of-the-art mapping and arrangement of facts. The introductory pages contain charts listing basic country information, e.g., area, capital, languages, currency, and even miniature flags. (A quibble: the population statistics don’t indicate the census year.) Noteworthy features include special sections for ocean maps and world time zones. The atlas is also enhanced by sidebars offering fascinating facts about a wide range of countries. For example, it informs us that China spans five time zones but operates on a single time. Bottom Line Inexpensive and colorfully illustrated in easy-to-read print, this atlas is a useful ready-reference source. Recommended for most libraries as well as for home and office use.Donald Altschiller, Boston Univ. Libs.

The Complete Dog Book: The American Kennel Club. 20th ed. Ballantine. Jan. 2006. c.880p. photogs. index. ISBN 0-345-47626-3. $35. REF

This is the official reference on the 153 breeds of dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC); its presence is required at every dog show licensed or sanctioned by the AKC. Included is a multipage history of each breed, fascinating reading for even the average dog lover, and the approved breed standards by which these dogs are judged in conformation events. The breeds are arranged alphabetically within their designated ‘group’ (e.g., Hound, Terrier, Toy), and black/white photographs of the breeds precede each chapter. Unfortunately, these images are seriously in need of updating; having been in generations of Complete Dog Book revisions, they look nothing like the show dogs of today. One also hopes photo errors, like the identical pictures of Wirehaired Dachshunds and Longhaired Dachshunds, will be corrected before final publication. Two scant and superficial sections – ‘Living with Your Dog’ and ‘Canine Health and First Aid’ – could easily be left out of future editions unless they are greatly expanded. The glossary, moreover, needs more concise and clear definitions, as well as illustrations for what are unique and confusing terms. Bottom Line As a resource for the general public on selecting a purebred dog, this has limited use. Purchase only where needed.Edell M. Schaefer, Brookfield P.L., Brookfield, WI

A Dictionary of Jewish-Christian Relations. CambridgeUniv. 2005. 508p. ed. by Edward Kessler & Neil Wenborn. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-521-82692-6. $200. REF

With the goal of shedding new light on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity, editors Kessler (executive director, Ctr. for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge) and Wenborn (The History Today Companion to British History) have brought together over 100 international scholars to document the current scholarship in the area. This dictionary includes over 700 signed entries, ranging from several paragraphs to several pages in length and covering major events, institutions, people, and places that have had an impact throughout history. While the majority of entries cover traditional material in this area, entries on topics such as Russian literature, the Ottoman Empire, author George Eliot, and music provide additional insight into the dialog between the two faiths. Supporting documentation includes seven maps and an extensive bibliography and index. Each entry also includes highlighted terms to note links to related entries, as well as citations to relevant religious texts. While the entries are brief, they are intended for readers with at least a basic understanding of the two religions and their histories. Bottom Line With its unique perspective on the relationship between Judaism and Christianity, this resource makes for a good supplement to the more standard reference works. It is most suitable for larger libraries catering to high school and college students as well as those with some background in the subjects.Michele McGraw, Hennepin Cty. Lib., Edina, MN

Encyclopedia of Christianity. 3d ed. OxfordUniv. Dec. 2005. 1408p. ed. by John Bowden. illus. maps. index. ISBN 0-19-522393-4. $125. REF

It is curious that Oxford chose to title this hefty volume an encyclopedia, even though its editor Bowden (A Dictionary of Christian Theology) states clearly in the introduction that it is a guide, not an encyclopedia or dictionary. Regardless of the title, this completely revised and updated third edition is an excellent resource on Christianity. Its 300-plus articles, written by nearly 200 contributors, are arranged alphabetically and cross-referenced, with special icons indicating their nature or purpose (e.g., ‘gateway,’ or introductory articles, distinguished by a larger font and single-column format). Varying in length from 1000 to 17,000 words, the thorough articles cover topics ranging from bioethics to methodism to God in a straightforward manner without resorting to oversimplified explanations. Unfamiliar vocabulary is included in the glossary in the back of the book, along with biographies, chronology, and a general index. Bottom Line Although less scholarly than Eerdmans’ extensive Encyclopedia of Christianity (2003), this book would make a significant contribution to any reference collection. The variety of information covered and the inclusion of appropriate illustrations (21 color plates and 96 b&w) give the volume a welcoming look and make it accessible to Christians and non-Christians alike. Highly recommended for public libraries and for academic libraries supporting religious studies programs; order a copy for your circulating collections as well.Rosanne M. Cordell, Indiana Univ. Lib., South Bend

Facts On File Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists. 4 vols. 784p. ISBN 0-8160-5803-2. $260.
Facts On File Encyclopedia of Art. 5 vols. 1024p. maps. bibliog. ISBN 0-8160-5797-4. $325.
ea. vol: Facts On File. 2005. ed. by Lawrence Gowing. illus. index. REF

Heavily based on the 1983 two-volume reference work by Prentice-Hall, Encyclopedia of Visual Art, also edited by the late painter and art historian Gowing, Facts On File Encyclopedia of Art adds minor updates to the original, mostly found in the chapters on contemporary art. The additional text is usually tacked on to the end of the original article and ranges in length from two paragraphs to several pages. Divided into five volumes – starting with the volume on Paleolithic and Etruscan art and ending with the volume on Realism and South African art – the set features 54 chapters altogether, organized by era and geographic region and written by art historians, curators, and archivists. Ranging in length from five pages (‘International Style’) to 35 pages (‘Gothic Art’), the chapters cover not only aesthetics but social and cultural context as well and not only Western arts (which do seem to dominate) but arts from other parts of the world. The most striking feature is the vivid, full-color photography on nearly every page, with three-dimensional objects ranging from Aegean armor to a Japanese Zen temple particularly well treated.

The Biographical Encyclopedia of Artists is similarly a minor revision and update of the Encyclopedia of Visual Art, although the lack of an introduction makes it difficult to spot what has been changed. The unsigned entries range from a paragraph to three pages in length and are complemented by many color photos. The artists covered include Laurie Anderson, Frank Gehry, Anselm Kiefer, Jan Vermeer, and Andy Warhol, to name just a few. A visual chronology of artists by country and era functions as an index to artists, and an alphabetical artist/subject index concludes the work. Bottom Line If your library owns the Encyclopedia of Visual Art, you may want to pass over the new version. If not, this Facts On File work is an important addition to any high school, academic, or public library. Even libraries that own the monumental Grove’s Dictionary of Art or classic world art surveys such as Gardner’s Art Through the Ages will find that this work complements their collection. The Biographical Encyclopedia is mostly recommended for libraries that don’t have a comprehensive collection of art biographies.Nadine Cohen, Athens, GA

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature. 5 vols. Greenwood. 2005. 2120p. ed. by Hans Ostrom & J. David Macey Jr. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-313-32972-9. $499.95. REF

This work is both ambitious and timely. Unlike biographically based references, it focuses on the texts of African American literature and the trends and events that have influenced it. Opening with an overview and chronology, the set has as its core over 1000 entries covering both canonized greats and lesser-known artists. These entries document the work of African American writers and their critics, literary forms and techniques, geographic hubs that generate significant output, and influential figures and movements that have shaped this diverse tradition. Compiled by Ostrom (English, Univ. of Puget Sound) and Macey (English, Univ. of Central Oklahoma) and written by over 200 scholars, the entries are accurate, cross-referenced, and appropriate in length to encyclopedic standards; photographs further augment the compilation’s richness. The novice and the seasoned archivist alike are sure to encounter new names, faces, and histories. Bottom Line Given the work’s scope, it is understandable that a few contributors would be overlooked, such as Paul Carter Harrison, Glenda Dickerson, and Margaret Wilkerson; additional African American theater groups; and major journals (e.g., African American Review). Overall, however, this is an important addition to all collections.Carol Allen, Long Island Univ., Brooklyn Campus

Little Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. 3d ed. OxfordUniv. 2005. 474p. ed. by Susan Ratcliffe. index. ISBN 0-19-860998-1. $14.95. REF

‘I always have a quotation for everything – it saves original thinking,’ quipped novelist Dorothy Sayers. With the ever-expanding line of Oxford guides, there is little excuse for not having the right words at the right moment. Based on the venerated Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (now in its sixth edition), this little version (now in its third edition) is a portable thematic treasury of wit, wisdom, and stupidity throughout the centuries, with 4000 quotations – of which 700 are brand new. The portable companion’s usability lies in quick access to topical quotations by a range of historical figures from Plato to Donald Rumsfeld. It’s strictly a quotation finder, with none of the background context or citations from the full work and less than a quarter of that volume’s entries. Bottom Line Libraries may not find much value in this personal edition and are better served by the core set as well as the more intermediate Concise Oxford Dictionary of Quotations (2003). Although the Little dictionary beats them for quick look-ups, the lack of citations is likely to frustrate students. Ultimately, a fine volume for writers on the go but not library material. [A fully searchable version of the 2001 edition is available at – Ed.]Kelli Perkins, Herrick District Lib., Holland, MI

Schmitt, Barton D., M.D. Your Child’s Health. 3d ed. Bantam. 2005. 720p. index. ISBN 0-553-38369-8. $20. REF

This is the third edition of a standard child care encyclopedia that debuted in 1987. Schmitt (medical director, After-Hours Call Ctr., Sleep Disorders Clinic, Enuresis-Encopresis Clinic) discusses everything from supplies required for a new baby to adolescent rebellion, but the book’s greatest value is as a guide to coping with illness or injury. Schmitt succinctly describes symptoms and provides clear directions for first aid as well as advice on such topics as when to call 911, when to go to the Emergency Room, and when to call the doctor immediately. Though for some topics he recommends titles for further reading, one wishes he did so more often (particularly when opinions vary, as with toilet training and discipline), but this is a minor quibble. Bottom Line Every parent will want to own this book. But every public library will want a copy as well for prospective parents to browse, as there’s a lot of information here – 300 major topics covered – at a very reasonable cost. Highly recommended.Susan B. Hagloch, Tuscarawas Cty. P.L., New Philadelphia, OH

Wilkinson, Toby. The Thames & Hudson Dictionary of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, dist. by Norton. 2005. 272p. illus. maps. ISBN 0-500-05137-2 [ISBN 978-0-500-05137-5]. $50. REF

Egyptologist Wilkinson (Genesis of the Pharaohs) here offers a new dictionary on ancient Egypt. Surprisingly, it does not acknowledge any predecessors, such as Ian Shaw and Paul Nicholson’s The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, the first single-volume dictionary of its scope and scholarship in English and a preeminent source on the subject for ten years. Wilkinson’s work, which is aimed at both lay readers and specialists, is apparently meant to replace Shaw and Nicholson’s work because it attempts ‘to be the most comprehensive, single-volume dictionary of ancient Egypt currently available in the English language.’ It is handsomely illustrated with many color photographs, some of them published for the first time. The A-to-Z entries cover a wide range of areas (e.g., archaeological sites, religion, literature, and medicine) and are well written, detailed, and succinct, with an abundance of cross references but with no bibliographies, even when details or facts cry out for documentation. The absence of an index is another handicap. Bottom Line With a bibliography for every entry and an extensive index, Shaw and Nicholson’s work remains the essential choice. Those whose budgets allow for additional titles on the subject may opt to add this dictionary.Joan W. Gartland, Detroit P.L.