Reference Reviews | May 15, 2012

starred review starBunson, Matthew. Encyclopedia of Ancient Rome. 3d ed. Facts On File. 2012. 704p. illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780816082179. $95. Online: Infobase eBooks REF

Bunson (Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire ) here provides a dynamic, engaging reference on the culture, history, and people of Ancient Rome. Entries offer considerable context, enhancing the accessibility of the information. Bunson’s approach is distinctly interdisciplinary, weaving geography into military history, branches of philosophy into biographical entries, etc. Far from creating confusion, this method brings the Roman physical, intellectual, scientific, and social world to life. Biographic entries are particularly well written, presenting the roles of both well-known figures and important but obscure men and women with richness and sensitivity. The historical coverage spans the founding of Rome by Aeneas to the collapse of the empire in the fifth century C.E. Illustrations accompany many entries and include reproductions of portraits, photographs of busts, maps, and architectural diagrams. Appendixes provide further valuable information, such as recommendations of materials for the study of Roman history, lists of dictators and emperors, a glossary of important terms, and family trees of notable houses and dynasties. VERDICT A superb source of detailed, engaging information on the ever fascinating and often perplexing ancient Roman civilization, Bunson’s work is a handy reference for classics students and enthusiasts alike. Lauren de Bruin, Alberta Lib., Edmonton

Best, Samuel J. & Brian S. Krueger. Exit Polls: Surveying the American Electorate, 1972‚ 2010. CQ Pr. 2012. 448p. illus. index. ISBN 9781608717415. $195. Online: CQ Press Electronic Library REF

Of inestimable value in election forecasting, exit polls constitute the primary means by which real-time election results are predicted. The subject is typically subsumed in general works on polling or elections. This title treats it explicitly. Polling experts Best (political science, Univ. of Connecticut; CBS exit poll analyst) and Krueger’s (political science, Univ. of Rhode Island; former CBS exit poll analyst; coauthor, with Best, Internet Data Collection) meticulous longitudinal study synthesizes oftentimes elusive and ephemeral exit poll statistics from disparate sources over the past four decades. While the tables and figures on presidential and congressional voting preferences in chapters four and five comprise the bulk of the book, readers will also profit from the first three chapters, which offer a history of exit polls, explain the authors’ methodology, and discuss the changing demographic and ideological composition of the electorate. VERDICT Although this noteworthy work may also appeal to general audiences, its primary readership will likely be students and scholars, making it a useful addition to academic libraries’ political science collections. David Ettinger, George Washington Univ. Lib., Washington, DC

Voices of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Experience. 2 vols. Greenwood. 2012. 708p. ed. by Sang Chi & Emily Moberg Robinson. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781598843545. $189. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection REF

Chi (history, Santa Monica Coll.) and Robinson (history & Asian American studies, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz) open the first volume of this resource on the lives of Asian immigrants to the United States and Asian Americans with an introduction explaining relevant theory and history. This is followed by more than 200 person-centric primary-source documents, such as interviews, personal narratives, eulogies, court records, and blog posts, organized in more than 20 sections, each of which covers the experiences of a different ethnic group. Most of these sources were created by Asian Americans, although some documents are included to present outsiders’ viewpoints. The documents are from the 19th century to today, with the majority from the last 20 years; they include “An account of the first Japanese native in Oregon,” ca. 1904, Deportation Documents, 1936, War Brides Act, 1945, Flyer for the Yellow Symposium at the University of California, Berkeley, ‚Äòasian experience/yellow identity,’ 1969, and I Cook Nothing Like My Mother, 2010. VERDICT Most recent titles on the Asian American experience look exclusively at a particular topic (e.g., parenting styles) or group (e.g., children, youth cultures), whereas this set has a much broader focus. An older comparable title is The Columbia Documentary History of the Asian American Experience (2002); however, it obviously lacks material from the last decade, a period the reviewed title covers extremely well. This powerful collection is appropriate for public, school, and academic libraries. Lura Sanborn, St. Paul’s Sch. Lib., Hopkinton, NH

The following titles are reviewed in the May 15 print issue. Visit our Reviews Center (Beta) for the full reviews.


College Financing Information for Teens. 2d ed. Omnigraphics. (Teen Finance). 2011. 387p. ed. by Elizabeth Magill. index. ISBN 9780780812147. $69. Online: Credo Reference, ebrary, Gale, MyiLibrary, Rittenhouse R2 Digital Library REF


Bunson, Margaret R. Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. 3d ed. Facts On File. 2012. c.516p. illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780816082162. $95. Online: Infobase eBooks REF

Rosser, John H. Historical Dictionary of Byzantium. 2d ed. Scarecrow. 2011. 642p. photogs. maps. bibliog. ISBN 9780810875678. $110. Online: NetLibrary, Overdrive, MyiLibrary, EBL, & Questia REF

Somel, Selcuk Aksin. Historical Dictionary of the Ottoman Empire. 2d ed. Scarecrow. 2011. 576p. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780810871687. $120. Online: NetLibrary, Overdrive, MyiLibrary, EBL, & Questia REF


Misiroglu, Gina. The Superhero Book: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Comic-Book Icons and Hollywood Heroes. 2d ed. Visible Ink. 2012. 480p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781578593750. pap. $24.95. REF

Political Science

Weatherford, Doris. Women in American Politics: History and Milestones. 2 vols. CQ Pr. 2012. 500p. illus. index. ISBN 9781608710072. $225. Online: CQ Press Electronic Library REF


Burnie, David. Nature Guide: Birds. DK. (Smithsonian Nature Guides). 2012. c.352p. illus. index. ISBN 9780756690410. pap. $14.95. REF

Coombes, Allen J. The A to Z of Plant Names: A Quick Reference Guide to 4000 Garden Plants. Timber. May 2012. c.312p. bibliog. ISBN 9781604691962. $19.95. REF

Social Sciences

DeMello, Margo. Faces Around the World: A Cultural Encyclopedia of the Human Face. ABC-CLIO. 2012. 308p. photogs. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781598846171. $89. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection 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.