Reference Reviews | March 2013

Peters, Gerhard & John T. Woolley. The Presidency A to Z. CQ Pr. 2012. 715p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781608719082. $125. Online: CQ Press Electronic Library REF

At over 700 pages and also available online, this core title, published since 1992, follows in the venerable tradition of its predecessors, providing a comprehensive encyclopedic treatment of the U.S. presidency. Updated to reflect the Obama administration, it contains over 300 entries addressing all aspects of the executive branch. Thus, it is essentially a revision of the previous 2007 edition with material added to refresh the contents, including new biographies, reexamination of previous topics, and discussion of supervening developments related to particular issues (e.g., relations with Congress). It is an ideal quick reference source, especially when read in tandem with the publisher’s two-volume Guide to the U.S. Presidency and the Executive Branch (5th ed., 2010), which it complements. Encyclopedia of the American Presidency (Facts on File, 2012) is a lower-priced comparable alternative. VERDICT A recommended purchase for all libraries and a required one for those with earlier editions, which it supplants. Libraries should consider the electronic version, available separately or along with the print, or as part of an online package. —David Ettinger, George Washington Univ. Lib., Washington, DC

Stone, Jonathan. Historical Dictionary of Russian Literature. Scarecrow. ( Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts). 2012. 312p. bibliog. ISBN 9780810871823. $99. Online: eBooks on EBSCOhost, Overdrive, MyiLibrary, EBL, & Questia REF

Stone (Russian studies, Franklin & Marshall Coll., Lancaster, PA) brings an overview of Russian literature to the “Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts” series. The entries include authors (Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Gogol), titles ( Anna Karenina , Dead Souls , Brothers Karamazov ), and periods (Romanticism, Realism, Modernism). Genres (The Novel, Poetry) are explored along with groups/concepts (Formalism, Symbolism). Terms that appear in bold have their own entries. Stone mentions in the preface that “this is intended to complement” other more detailed works on the subject (e.g., Victor Terras’s Handbook of Russian Literature ). The information here is in brief articles and a helpful chronology establishes the historical time line. Through extensive bold items and cross referencing, the reader is led through a sampling of Russian literary topics, creating an atmosphere that will engage students to learn more. Some interesting facts include Doctor Zhivago actually being published in Italy and that the poet Esenin was once married to Isadora Duncan and met a tragic end. Other intriguing entries are acmeism, samizdat, and sections devoted to women (Women in Russian Literature, Women’s Writing). Censorship, Stalinism, and Solzhenitsyn are also covered. The appendix offers “Russian Names and Titles” in both English and Russian. Some alternate spellings are shown, for example, “Tolstoi, Lev Nikolaevich (Alt. Tolstoy).” The sizable bibliography is divided into subject and author categories, which is useful. This would be a good companion to an Introduction to Russian Literature course. VERDICT Great for students, of interest to those who enjoy Russian literature, and a handy reference tool. —Barbara Kundanis, Longmont P.L., CO

The Encyclopedia of Caribbean Religions. Univ. of Illinois. 1 & 2. May 2013. 640p. ed. by Patrick Taylor & Frederick I. Case. maps. illus. bibliog. ISBN 9780252037238. $250. REF

This absorbing exploration of various major themes and topics concerning Caribbean religions is rich with text, photographs, and illustrations, and quite comprehensive. Each entry begins with a broad topic, theme, or type of religion and is then divided into smaller subtopics. Taylor (former chair, humanities, York Univ.; The Narrative of Liberation: Perspectives on Afro-Caribbean Literature, Popular Culture, and Politics ) and Case (Caribbean studies and French, New College, Univ. of Toronto; The Crisis of Identity: Studies in the Guadeloupean and Martiniquan Novel ) collected entries from a number of different authors, all of whom are involved with the Caribbean Religions Project. Faiths such as Vodou and Islam are explored, while other entries are on the religious practices of various places, such as the entry on Antigua and Barruda. Also, certain sects are covered, such as the Church of Religious Science and the Presbyterian Church. Even broader subjects such as “literature,” are explained in context to the subject at hand. VERDICT This title is both complete and authoritative. The major strength is that the entries are by experts on the particular subjects covered, making for a reliable and useful reference source. This is a great resource for those interested in exploring these subjects with a certain level of depth. —Annette Haldeman, Dept. of Legislative Svcs. Lib., Annapolis, MD

The following titles are reviewed in the February 1 print issue. Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Dystopia. 292p. ed. by M. Keith Booker. ISBN 9781429837330.

Good & Evil. 300p. ed. by Margaret Sonser Breen. ISBN 9781429837361.Ea. vol. Salem Pr. 2012. bibliog. index. $85. Online: eBooks on EBSCOhost, Follett Library Resources, ebrary, Gale Virtual Reference Library, MyiLibrary, Overdrive REF

Performing Arts

The Album: A Guide to Pop Music’s Most Provocative, Influential, and Important Creations. 4 vols. Praeger. 2012. 1256p. ed. by James E. Perone. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313379062. $257. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection REF


A Companion to Global Environmental History. Wiley-Blackwell. ( Wiley-Blackwell Companions to World History). 2012. 568p. ed. by J.R. McNeill & Erin Stewart Mauldin. maps. index. ISBN 9781444335347. $199.95. REF

Social Sciences

The Encyclopedia of Housing. SAGE. 1 & 2. 2012. 928p. ed. by Andrew T. Carswell. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781412989572. $375. Online: SAGE Reference Online REF

Encyclopedia of Terrorism. ABC-CLIO. 1 & 2. 2012. 871p. ed. by Peter Chalk. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313308956. $205. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection REF

Science and the World’s Religions. 3 vols. Praeger. (Brain, Behavior, and Evolution). 2012. 930p. ed. by Patrick McNamara & Wesley Wildman. index. ISBN 9780313387326. $194; ebk. ISBN 9780313387333. 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.