Reference Short Takes, December 2011

Craughwell, Thomas J. This Saint Will Change Your Life. 2d ed. Quirk. 2011. 480p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781594745287. pap. $19.95. REF
This visually opulent revision of This Saint’s for You! (2007) loosely simulates a holy text, with print the color of aging gold leaf and richly hued holy card illustrations. Craughwell (Saints Behaving Badly) organizes 300 saints alphabetically by affliction or profession, opening with accountants and ending with yachtsmen and profiling the saints to be invoked in case of calamities, coughs, miscarriages, and moles. Each engaging one-page entry incorporates the saint’s birth and death dates, feast days, a brief biography, and successful historical invocations. A four-page bibliography and by-saint index round out this entertaining and informative volume.

Fotheringham, William. Cyclopedia: It’s All About the Bike. Chicago Review, dist. by IPG. 2011. 432p. illus. maps. bibliog. ISBN 9781569768174. $25. REF
Fotheringham (Cycle Racing) offers a reference to bicycles and cycling culture. Organized alphabetically, entries include brief biographies, terms, competitions, bicycle models and makers, team song lyrics, and even time lines. Informative and frank biographical entries open with birth and death dates, major wins, nicknames, and (when applicable) books written. Framed sidebars present subject trivia, while maps detail a competition’s geographical course. A humorous yet substantial addition to sports or cycling history collections.

Grasso, John. Historical Dictionary of Tennis. Scarecrow. (Historical Dictionaries of Sports). 2011. 419p. illus. index. ISBN 9780810872370. $75. Online: NetLibrary, Overdrive, MyiLibrary, EBL, & Questia REF
This alphabetized lexicon profiles the people, groups, events, techniques, court terms, and geographical locations of tennis history. Following an event chronology that commences with 1874 and concludes with 2011, Grasso (Historical Dictionary of Basketball) offers a concise historical overview in his 17-page introduction. Black-and-white player photographs sometimes accompany the multiparagraph, cross- referenced entries. Nine appendixes provide quick-reference to Hall of Fame inductees and championship winners from various international competitions. An excellent complement to The Bud Collins History of Tennis, by renowned tennis journalist Collins and released in its second edition in 2010.

Milam, Jennifer D. Historical Dictionary of Rococo Art. Scarecrow. (Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts). 2011. 307p. bibliog. ISBN 9780810861831. $80. Online: NetLibrary, Overdrive, MyiLibrary, EBL, & Questia REF
Milam (art history & film studies, Univ. of Sydney, Australia) deftly explains the geographical centers, art dealers, state figures, practitioners, techniques, substyles, and concepts defining the rococo period. As with many Scarecrow lexicons, no illustrations accompany term descriptions. This seems an especially significant deficit given the book’s subject. However, the well-written, thoroughly researched text‚ which includes all European and American stylistic permutations‚ compensates for the lack of images. Alphabetized entries are carefully explained and cross-referenced for additional clarification. Also vital are a chronology of style-relevant historical events and a 25-page introduction that defines rococo’s stylistic hallmarks and implications. An important guide for art history collections.

Montgomery, Denise L. Ottemiller’s Index to Plays in Collections: An Author and Title Index to Plays Appearing in Collections Published Since 1900. 8th ed. Scarecrow. 2011. 779p. index. ISBN 9780810877207. $150. Online: NetLibrary, Overdrive, MyiLibrary, EBL, & Questia REF
This comprehensive catalog facilitates rapid location of plays appearing in English in both textbooks and anthologies published between 1900 and 2000. Included are multivolume sets from series that began in the 20th century but were completed after 2000. In addition to correcting errors from previous editions, Montgomery (library science, Valdosta State Univ.; Yale Book of Quotations), who revived the guide after a 20-year interval, has nearly doubled the number of playwrights included and expanded the scope to consider 744 collections. Her experience as an interlibrary loan librarian has permitted her location of English publications in 103 countries, thus adding another 3,593 new plays to the previous edition’s 6,548. Essential for English literature collections.

The National Trust Manual of Housekeeping: Care and Conservation of Collections in Historic Houses. 3d ed. Anova, dist. by Trafalgar Square. Feb. 2012. 922p. ed. by National Trust. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781907892189. $75. REF
For historical site staff, this stout volume is the go-to guide for understanding historical preservation’s best practices. The National Trust (Gardening Secrets) brings together nearly 70 multipage essays by 54 field specialists, many of them accredited conservator-restorers. Each essay incorporates updates to the science and ethics of preservation activity and falls under one of four major categories: subject overview, causes of decay, object-specific preservation approaches, and administrative concerns. Full-color photographs of British house and castle interiors along with illustrations of conservation activity add didactic value. Handy, too, are the closing appendixes, which specify indispensable equipment, protective measures, specialists’ tools, and supplier contacts. An essential subject guide.

Schott, Ben. Schott’s Quintessential Miscellany. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. 2011. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 9781608190218. $16. REF
First published in 2003 as Schott’s Original Miscellany, this retitled edition includes updates and revisions made by both Schott (Schott’s Almanac) and those he terms his eagle-eyed readers. Though slender and pocket-sized, the compendium is filled with interesting trivia such as Flag, Semaphore, and Morse Signals and Common Wall- Covering Symbols. Also included are curiosities such as Beauty Spot Nomenclature. Entries are not alphabetized and no table of contents is included. Therefore, the book is recommended primarily as edifying entertainment, since locating specific entries (and knowing whether specific subjects are even included) will likely prove difficult, even with the help of the index.

Thompson, William R. & David Dreyer. Handbook of International Rivalries, 1494‚ 2010. CQ Pr. (Correlates of War). 2011. 318p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780872894877. $155. CQ Press Electronic Library REF
Thompson (Rogers Professor of Political Science, Indiana Univ.) and Dreyer (political science, Lenoir Rhyne Univ.) cover their complex subject in seven geographically determined chapters and inventory 200 inter-nation rivalries. Entries open with a quick-reference list of rivalry durations, escalations to war, and a generic identification of the conflict’s root. Multiparagraph narratives are followed by a list of abbreviated sources linked to a 41-page bibliography. Puzzling is the omission of U.S. conflicts with various Middle Eastern nations, since the authors’ definition of rivalry, explained in the first chapter, is two actors‚Ķengaged in‚Ķintense conflictual relationship. Also challenging is determining the organization of rivalries within chapters.‚ Savannah Schroll Guz, formerly with Smithsonian Libs., Washington, DC

About Savannah Schroll Guz

Savannah Schroll Guz, formerly with Smithsonian Libs., Washington, DC