Reference Reviews, March 1, 2012

Home Economics

The Oxford Companion to Beer. Oxford Univ. 2011. 960p. ed. by Garrett Oliver. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9780195367133. $65. REF

A beer renaissance is well underway, suitably affirmed by this handsome Oxford Companion documenting the science, history, and culture of this beverage revival. The 1100-plus alphabetically arranged, signed entries range in length from about six pages for essentials (Germany) to a quarter page on the more obscure (glycogen) and are nicely balanced between the scientific (aroma unit) and the sociohistorical (beer gods), covering a fine mix of ingredients, styles, process details, and beer-culture arcana. Though a small handful of entries on the latter (e.g., real ale) written by enthusiasts sometimes stretch the bounds of tone uniformity, overall the editorship here is admirable for providing accessible entry to this jargon-laden topic that until recently was almost exclusively the domain of dedicated hobbyists. Many articles feature a list of sources and cross-references. Sixteen color plates illustrate intricate steins, historical sales posters, and more, while dozens of monochromatic images supplement the remaining text. Additional sections cover conversion factors; beer organizations and enthusiast clubs; festivals; websites, magazines, and newspapers; beer museums; and a directory of the 166 contributors, who are a welcome mix of academics, writers, and accomplished brewmasters. Editor Oliver (The Brewmaster’s Table), brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery, is known equally for his musings about beer history and culture and for spearheading the brewery’s wild success. VERDICT This title hits the sweet spot of popular appeal and bona fide subject rigor and is likely to catch the eye of even the most casual browser‚ display prominently. Recommended for the ever-increasing number of public collections serving local-beer enthusiasts and for most academic collections; likewise suitable for any beer imbiber’s home collection.‚ Josh Hadro, Library Journal

Social Sciences

Cult Pop Culture: How the Fringe Became Mainstream. 3 vols. Praeger. 2012. 736p. ed. by Bob Batchelor. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313357800. $163. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection REF

Batchelor (journalism & mass communications, Kent State Univ.; The 2000s) offers 60 essays on people and subjects of pop-culture fascination. This is a study not only of individual pop phenomena and obsession, but also of American culture. A pop-culture time line covering 1900 to 2011 precedes the articles in Volume 1, which cover film and TV, while the other volumes address music and literature, industries, events, and sports. The expected is here (Elvis, Star Wars, comic books) as well as perhaps the unexpected (hair bands, book clubs, antiques). Other articles include Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Omniscient: Oprah Winfrey’s Cult Status, Tell Me Everything: The Cult of Memoir, and Pageantry: Dogs, Kids, Beauty Queens, and Spelling Bees. Articles are signed and include bibliographies and further readings, and each volume contains its own index, though there is no comprehensive index. It is a little odd that although an enthusiastic Harry Potter fan is shown on the cover of the Literature and Music volume, there is no essay focused on that character, but this is a small quibble with an intriguing set. VERDICT Although many pop-culture sets exist, this one stands out for its focus on cult status and placing pop culture within the greater American experience. Appropriate for and likely appealing to patrons of public, school, and academic libraries.‚ Lura Sanborn, St. Paul’s Sch. Lib., Concord, NH


The following titles are reviewed in the March 1 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.


Haley, Allan & others. Typography Referenced: A Comprehensive Visual Guide to the Language, History, and Practice of Typography. Rockport: Quayside. 2012. 398p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781592537020. $50. REF


Debt Information for Teens: Tips for a Successful Financial Life. 2d ed. Omnigraphics. (Teen Finance). 2011. 364p. ed. by Karen Bellenir. illus. index. ISBN 9780780812154. $69. Online: Credo Reference, ebrary, Gale, MyiLibrary, Rittenhouse R2 Digital Library REF


Icons of the Middle Ages: Rulers, Writers, Rebels, and Saints. 2 vols. Greenwood. 2011. 706p. ed. by Lister M. Matheson. illus. index. ISBN 9780313340802. $189. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection REF

Sullivan, Lawrence R. Historical Dictionary of the Chinese Communist Party. Scarecrow. 2011. 400p. bibliog. ISBN 9780810872257. $85. Online: NetLibrary, Overdrive, MyiLibrary, EBL, & Questia REF


Clark, Woodrow W., II & Grant Cooke. Global Energy Innovation: Why America Must Lead. Praeger. 2011. 190p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313397219. $37. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection REF

Travel & Geography

The American South: A Reader and Guide. Edinburgh Univ., dist. by Columbia Univ. 2011. c.408p. ed. by Daniel Letwin. ISBN 9780748619962. $240. REF

Henrietta Verma About Henrietta Verma

Henrietta Verma is Senior Editorial Communications Specialist at NISO, the National Information Standards Organization, Baltimore, and was formerly the reviews editor at Library Journal.