Reference Reviews | February 15, 2013

Urban Sustainability: A Global Perspective. Michigan State Univ. 2012. 714p. ed. by Igor Vojnovic. ISBN 9781611860559. $74.95. ref

More than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas, and exponential growth is expected for cities and metropolitan centers in the first decades of the 21st century. In this well-researched and thoughtfully edited volume of 25 case studies, Vojnovic (Michigan State Univ.) enlists urban scholars around the world to address the physical, political, socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and health challenges created by urban growth within local, national, and international frameworks. His brief overview of the core challenges and issues created by megacities and urbanization sets the tone for the essays that follow. The contributors explore the complexities of sustainability and equity within the context of global wealth concentration using a variety of maps, photos, tables, charts, and statistics to support their analyses. Each essay ranges in length from 20 to 40 pages and concludes with footnotes and references. There is unfortunately no index. Vojnovic’s thesis that a global initiative involving all levels of government and society is necessary to successfully address the inequality of resources and wealth in our urban world is confirmed by the in-depth and sagacious interpretations of the essayists. VERDICT A thought-provoking work that will best serve upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in academic libraries. —Rob Tench, Perry Lib., Old Dominion Univ.

Atlas of the World. Oxford Univ. 2012. 448p. ISBN 9780199937820. $89.95. ref

The 19th edition of this annually updated reference mainstay includes information pertaining to the newly named South Sudan, and the expected global, continental, country, and city maps, and views of the earth from space. Helpful additional content goes perhaps beyond the expected: country flags; statistics related to area and population; star charts; and information on weather, climate, energy, and human geography are just some of those bonuses. While this atlas is beautiful and I don’t hesitate to call it a classic, I am looking forward to a digital version. Patrons love the magnification/manipulation of images that the ARTstor database allows, and the same facility from a powerhouse of cartography would be appreciated. There is an Oxford Atlas iPad app ($11.99) available for individuals to purchase (not supplied to reviewer), but no app or site license option for libraries appears to be available for this title. Most libraries owning a recent world atlas from Oxford, National Geographic and/or The Times have likely fulfilled their atlas needs. ­ VERDICT Appropriate for any library collection in need of refreshing its world atlas and for those collecting the Oxford print editions.—Lura Sanborn, St. Paul’s Sch. Lib., Concord, NH

Jackson, Tom. The Universe: An Illustrated History of Astronomy. ISBN 9780985323059. Jackson, Tom.
The Elements: An Illustrated History of the Periodic Table. ISBN 9780985323035.
Ea. vol.: Shelter Harbor. ( Ponderables). 2012. 168p. illus. bibliog. index. $24.95. ref

These graphically stunning, browsable volumes each list 100 breakthroughs in the relevant area (a volume on mathematics is also available). Each book jacket holds a detachable foldout time line, posing “Ponderable” questions alongside developments in culture, world events, and science and invention. Entries run from one-half page to two pages in length each, and each page offers at least two detailed color photos and illustrations. Jackson, who has authored more than 80 science books, writes here for high school readers and armchair scientists, with occasional forays into more technical essays on subjects such as chemical bonding and the measurement of the earth by Eratosthenes. Elements discusses specific elements and the creation of the periodic table, but has a broad focus, also discussing, for example, how alloys helped advance civilization, the contributions of Niels Bohr, and the Higgs boson particle. Universe begins by pondering ancient stone monuments and moves through Pluto’s demotion from planet status and an exploration of the surface of Mars. Although women are not prominently mentioned, sometimes their unrecognized contributions are pointed out (for example, the title covers Rosalind Franklin and Photo 51). The back matter in these titles, which provides a summary of the topic, approximately 40 brief biographies, and further-reading suggestions, will aid academic readers. Both books have minor proofreading errors, but nothing that detracts from their beauty and readability. VERDICT These books feature gorgeous layouts and short, intelligent paragraphs. Their best audience is science-minded individuals who are interested in the discoveries and development of thought, but who don’t need to research a specific topic. —Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley Sch., Fort Worth, TX

The following titles are reviewed in the February 15 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


20th Century World Architecture: The Phaidon Atlas. Phaidon. 2012. 832p. illus. index. ISBN 9780714857060. $200. ref

Health & Medicine

Addictions and Substance Abuse. Salem Press. 1&2. 2012. 350p. ed. by Robin Kamienny Montvilo. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781587659614. $137.50. Online: Salem Health Database, eBooks on EBSCOhost, Follett Library Resources, ebrary, Gale Virtual Reference Library, MyiLibrary, Overdrive ref

Dictionary of Medical Terms. 6th ed. Barron’s. 2013. 706p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780764147586. pap. $14.99. ref

Social sciences

Arms Control: History, Theory and Policy. Praeger. 2 vols. May. 2012. 784p. ed. by Robert E. Williams. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780275998202. $189. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection ref

Urban Sustainability: A Global Perspective. Michigan State Univ. 2012. 714p. ed. by Igor Vojnovic. ISBN 9781611860559. $74.95. ref

The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies: Media History and the Foundations of Media Studies. Wiley-Blackwell. 5 vols. 2013. 4058p. ed. by Angharad N. Valdivia. index. ISBN 9781405193566. $995. ref

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Folk Art. Univ. of North Carolina. Jun. 2013. 528p. ed. by Carol Crown. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780807834428. $49.95; pap. ISBN 9780807871744. $24.95.

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.