Reference Short Takes, July 2012

Encyclopedia of the Commemorative Coins of the United States: History, Art, Investment & Collection of America’s Memorial Coinage. KWS, dist. by Independent Publishers Group. 2012. 712p. ed. by Anthony J. Swiatek. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780981773674. $150. REF

Consultant to the U.S. Mint, Swiatek (Commemorative Coins of the US ) opens this specialized guide with a valuable 37-page introduction detailing, in straightforward language, coin grading and commemorative pricing. The 110 entries that follow are organized first chronologically by coin issue year and then alphabetically by name. Each entry runs approximately four pages and offers photographs of the obverse and reverse and, when pertinent, the collector’s set packaging. Tables outline production figures, contemporary market values, and by-grade population figures. Design origins and counterfeit detection are also explained. VERDICT An essential, well-organized guide. The glossary makes the book’s specialized language accessible to novices.

Gold, Martin B.Forbidden Citizens: Chinese Exclusion and the U.S. Congress: A Legislative History. The 2012. c.550p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781587332357. $29.95. REF

This landmark volume on the subject of exclusionary policies against Chinese and Chinese Americans is the culmination of lengthy research conducted while attorney Gold (Senate Procedure and Practice ) represented a number of Chinese American groups. Divided into 11 chronologically ordered chapters, the book opens with an exploration of initial Senate debates over exclusionary measures and concludes with details on the repeal of such legislation. Congressional member quotations illuminate period sentiment. An appendix offers primary-source texts, document facsimiles, and discussion questions, and this makes for a valuable teaching tool. VERDICT Expanding on the views in Erika Lee’s At America’s Gates (2007), this is an exemplary subject reference.

Hirschfelder, Arlene & Paulette F. Molin. The Extraordinary Book of Native American Lists. Scarecrow. 2012. 584p. index. ISBN 9780810877092. $75. Online: eBooks on EBSCOhost, Overdrive, MyiLibrary, EBL, & Questia REF

Hirschfelder (Rising Voices ) and Chippewa Tribe member Molin (American Indian Themes in YA Literature) compiled this book of data and recommended resources to dispel lingering misconceptions about Native peoples. Divided into 24 chapters and seven thematic segments, the book explores Native cultures via discussions of history, tribal issues, creative expression, and sports. Chapters are made up of time lines, statistical information, and recommended book and film titles, ostensibly ranked by significance. Sidebars highlight important concepts, defining quotations and providing other notable data. VERDICT For curious lay readers and seasoned researchers, this book offers a valuable springboard to additional reliable research leads.

Jaffe, Daniel. Historical Dictionary of Russian Music. Scarecrow. (Historical Dictionaries of Literature & the Arts). 2012. 458p. bibliog. ISBN 9780810853119. $110. Online: eBooks on EBSCOhost, Overdrive, MyiLibrary, EBL, & Questia REF

Jaffé (Sergey Prokofiev) opens this comprehensive subject guide with a chronology listing salient musical and political events from 5500 B.C.E., when instruments were discovered in Karelia, to 2011, with the centenary concert of Pyatnitsky’s Choir. Following this is an engaging 31-page historical overview, easily navigated by helpful period-specific subheadings. More than 500 concise entries then profile historical and contemporary composers, movements, performance venues, operas, instruments, and other terms relevant to or significantly shaping Russian musical history. A fabulous 68-page, thematically organized bibliography rounds out this fundamental reference. VERDICT A wonderful complement to the 36 essays comprising Richard Taruskin’s On Russian Music (Univ. of California Pr., 2010).

McIntyre, Ann.The Ayurveda Bible: The Definitive Guide to Ayurvedic Healing. Firefly. 2012. 400p. index. ISBN 9781770850446. $19.95. REF

McIntyre’s (Complete Woman’s Herbal ) user-friendly subject guide is highly practical for both newcomers to ayurvedic healing, who require a detailed introduction, as well as veteran practitioners, who will find it a useful quick reference. The contents appear in four major segments and 18 total chapters. Covered are the practice’s historical origins and principles, directions on how to determine one’s constitution, an explanation of physiological processes as they relate to the body’s humors, and treatment methods. Management plans are clearly explained, often via tables, and involve feasible dietary and activity alterations. VERDICT A wonderful, functional guide for holistic and natural healing collections.

Political Handbook of the World, 2012. SAGE. 2012. 1834p. ed. by Tom Lansford. maps. ISBN 9781608719952. $345. Online: SAGE Reference Online REF

Published on a nearly annual basis since 1927, this hefty guide to international affairs and national identities has been updated and revised to reflect by-nation political changes. Lansford (To Protect and Defend ) organizes the entries, which can run up to 20 pages, alphabetically by country name. Covered are the country’s area, population, language, and principal political figures. This information accompanies an extended historical overview and discussions of political parties, legislature and cabinet figures, intergovernmental alliances, and (when applicable) annexed territories. VERDICT Although it will be made quickly obsolescent by rapidly changing political developments, this reference offers an incredibly information-rich portrait of each nation’s current political circumstances.‚ Savannah Schroll-Guz, formerly with Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC



  1. Charles says:

    This book is truly amazing. It should be considered the bible for Commemorative coins. It blows away every other book on the subject.