Reference Reviews | April 15, 2013

Lind, Nancy S. & Erik T. Rankin. First Amendment Rights: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. 2 vol. 2012. 783p. ISBN 9781610692120. $189. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection REF

This two-volume set by Lind and Rankin (both political science, Illinois State Univ., Normal) compiles law review and scholarly articles that provide a high-quality overview of the legal issues surrounding the protections guaranteed by the First Amendment. The first volume reprints articles from previous Greenwood Press legal reference titles that objectively identify and explain the issues, laws, cases, and court decisions that shaped First Amendment jurisprudence through 2008. The articles are largely historical in their coverage and follow the issues over time. The second volume focuses on contemporary First Amendment questions, reprinting recent articles from a variety of law review and scholarly sources. Much of the material in this volume address issues associated with rapidly changing social media technologies and practices, such as Facebook and sexting, or political and religious divides on issues such as campaign finance, Occupy Wall Street, and mandated contraceptive coverage in the Affordable Care Act. The authors place each issue into the relevant legal context and precedent and some take positions on them, generally advocating more expansive First Amendment protections. All articles are well documented, and some include term definitions. Each volume has an appendix with case briefs that describe the issues, facts, and decisions of key court cases. VERDICT These volumes, intended primarily for the legal community, will help readers understand both the historical precedents and contemporary status of First Amendment jurisprudence and provide a foundation for further research. —Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO

Griffel, Margaret Ross. Operas in English: A Dictionary. Scarecrow. 2 vol. 2013. 1020p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780810882720. $160. Online: eBooks on EBSCOhost, Overdrive, MyiLibrary, EBL, & Questia REF

This dictionary, compiled by Griffel (senior editor, Office of Publications, Columbia Univ.; Operas in German: A Dictionary ), is dedicated to operas that include English text, either originally or in a translation of a libretto originally written in another language. The text is broken into two volumes. The first volume lists 3,500 English-language operas in alphabetical order by title. Basic information, such as the type of opera, the number of acts in the piece, the composer’s name, the librettist’s name, the original language of the libretto, and details about the opera’s first performance, is included in each entry. Some entries also include brief plot descriptions. The second volume includes a list of works organized by composer and librettist respectively. A chronological organization of the operas, an index of characters, and a helpful selective bibliography listed by subject are also included in the second volume, offering researchers alternate ways to find information in the text. The bibliography points readers to a wealth of information that music scholars and enthusiasts alike could easily use to deepen their research. This dictionary is unique in focusing solely on English-language compositions. Additionally, this source is one of the most up-to-date reference books on the subject of these performances. Works performed for the first time in English as recently as 2010 are listed in the chronological appendix. VERDICT This dictionary does a wonderful job of offering readers several different ways to find the information they may be looking for. It will be useful to classical musicians, vocalists, and actors. Music scholars and historians may also find it a good first stop for information. This is a helpful resource for a wide variety of music researchers specifically interested in operas that include English text. —Jennifer Stith, Johnson C. Smith Univ. Lib., Charlotte, NC

Spring, Michelle & Laurie R. King. The Arvon Book of Crime and Thriller Writing. Bloomsbury. 2012. 304p. bibliog. ISBN 9781408131220. pap. $20. REF

Best-selling crime writers Spring and King offer here personal reflections and advice on their genre. In Part One of the volume, the authors provide personal reflections about crime and the various ways of writing about it (for Spring, it is the “orderly school,” while for King, it is “organic”). They also explore how to gather ideas and make decisions, offering glimpses of their own experiences as well as citing examples from other writers. Part Two is a compilation of short tips and advice from a group of best-selling writers in the genre, including Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, and Sara Paretsky, tidbits that will be useful to readers who seek to learn how to develop their crime writing in a specific area. Part Three reverts to the musings of Spring and King, who impart information on such topics as the tools of writing, character development, elements of crime fiction, writer’s block, and promoting one’s writing. Further-reading suggestions round out the volume.VERDICT This well organized, welcoming volume will be of interest to writers who are embarking upon writing crime fiction. Readers of the genre might also enjoy finding out more about the process that their favorite writers go through to create gripping works of mystery and suspense. The volume works as a reference resource, to identify specific items of interest, but could also be read from cover to cover.—Annette Haldeman, Dept. of Legislative Svcs., Maryland General Assembly

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


Hessler, John W. & Chet Van Duzer. Seeing the World Anew: The Radical Vision of Martin Waldseemeüller’s 1507 & 1516 World Maps. Library of Congress. 2012. 112p. bibliog. ISBN 9781929154470. REF


100 People Who Changed 20th-Century America. ABC-CLIO. 2013. 624p. ed. by Mary Cross. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781610690850. $173. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection REF


The Encyclopedia of Ancient History. Wiley-Blackwell. 13 vol. 2012. 7768p. ed. by Roger S. Bagnall & others. illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781405179355. $2,495. REF

Voices of the American Indian Experience. Greenwood. 2 vol. 2012. 796p. ed. by James E. Seelye & Alden Littleton. ISBN 9780313381164. $189. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection REF

Performing arts

Mayer, Geoff. Historical Dictionary of Crime Films. Scarecrow. ( Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts). 2012. 514p. bibliog. ISBN 9780810867697. $115. Online: eBooks on EBSCOhost, Overdrive, MyiLibrary, EBL, & Questia REF

Political Science

Encyclopedia of the U.S. Presidency: A Historical Reference. Facts On File. 6 vols. 2013. 3056p. ed. by Nancy Beck Young. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780816067442. $550. Online: Infobase eBooks REF

The Politics Book.DK. ( Big Ideas Simply Explained). 2013. 352p. index. ISBN 9781465402141. $25. REF.


Eisenberg, Ronald L. Essential Figures in the Bible. Jason Aronson Inc. 2012. 229p. bibliog. ISBN 9780765709394. $55. REF

social sciences

Niles, Reg. The Reg Niles Searchbook for Adult Adoptees. Adoption Bibliography Center. 2 vol. 2012. 944p. ISBN 9780988219809. $100. 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.


  1. Allan G says:

    First Amendment Rights is a great reference guide/encyclopedia. I loved it from the first time I read page one. Henrietta, thanks for putting this out there for everyone. A great investment for anyone wanting to know more on this subject in these frightening times.