Reference Reviews | May 1, 2013

Library Journal Reviews starred review Debates on U.S. Health Care. SAGE. 2012. 592p. ed. by Jennie Jacobs Kronenfeld & others. bibliog. illus. index. ISBN 9781412996020. $125. Online: SAGE Reference Online REF

Focusing more on the philosophies and ideologies behind the health care debate than on actual health care policies, this title uses a debate format to present both sides of each issue in signed, position-paper-style essays complete with additional-reading bibliographies. Essays are presented in three sections: “Philosophical, Political, and Legal Debates” (14 chapters), “Economic and Fiscal Debates” (12 chapters), and “Quality Debates” (10 chapters). Each section’s introduction, written by one of the book’s editors, ties the essays together to present a single comprehensive overview of the topics that follow. The 9- to 18-page debates open with two succinct point and counterpoint thesis statements followed by two related essays, each accompanied by further-reading suggestions. The detailed index augments access to related information located elsewhere in the book. Unlike titles such as Nick J. Tate’s ObamaCare Survival Guide ( LJ , 4/1/13) and Donald A. Barr’s Introduction to U.S. Health Policy , this title presents an objective view of all sides of the many complex issues raised by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Editors Kronenfeld (sociology, Arizona State Univ.; Medicare), Wendy E. Parmet (law, Northeastern Univ.; Populations, Public Health, and the Law), and Mark A. Zezza (senior policy analyst, Commonwealth Fund) and the 70 contributors are academics or employed by think tanks and philanthropic organizations such as the Brookings Institute and the Commonwealth Fund. VERDICT Will be of interest to public, special, and academic libraries interested in health care reform, including those with a focus on medical economics, ethics, and social services. —­Laurie Selwyn, formerly with Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX

Eisenberg, Ronald L. Essential Figures in the Talmud. Jason Aronson. 2012. 320p. bibliog. maps. ISBN 9780765709417. $55; ebk. ISBN 9780765709424. REF

More than 2,000 rabbis are mentioned in the Talmud (the collection of the teachings of the major Jewish scholars between 200 and 500 CE), and while standard comprehensive reference works, such as the 22-volume Encyclopaedia Judaica , include at least brief references to most of them, searching for more detailed information about these figures can be difficult. Now, Eisenberg, a radiologist at Harvard who has also studied and written extensively on Judaism (his What the Rabbis Said: 250 Topics from the Talmud , Praeger, 2010, is an excellent companion to the present volume), has chosen the 250 rabbis, from the fourth to sixth centuries BCE, who he feels are most important to the text of the Talmud. The alphabetically arranged profiles provide basic biographical information about each man, and then offer illustrative quotations from the parts of the Talmud in which they appear or write. Also included are a glossary, maps, a chronological listing of the 250 rabbis, and a short bibliography. VERDICT This is an invaluable desk reference for readers of the Talmud, but its lively and accessible narrative style also makes it an edifying and enlightening title for general readers interested in the rabbinic foundations of Judaism, who will want to open and peruse it again and again. Highly recommended. —Marcia G. Welsh, Dartmouth Coll. Lib., Hanover, NH

Mishel, Lawrence & others. The State of Working America. 12th ed. ILR Pr. ( Economic Policy Institute). 2012. 505p. bibliog. illus. index. ISBN 9780801451706. $75; pap. ISBN 9780801478550. $24.95. REF

This analysis of the economic status of working-class Americans is prepared by the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank focused on the impact of government policies on low- and middle-income workers. An effective combination of raw data and explanatory text describes the stratification of wealth in the United States and is accompanied by a fascinating examination of the “lost” decade that began with the 2001 downturn and was exacerbated by the Great Recession, the authors arguing that macroeconomic policy has been woefully underutilized in response. Tables, figures, and graphs are clearly presented and carefully documented; data sets vary in time period with some reaching as far back as 1913 and most updated through 2010 or 2011. Dollar figures have been adjusted as necessary to account for inflation in order to maintain undistorted bases for comparison. Themed chapters cover general topics such as income, mobility, wages, jobs, wealth, and poverty, each opening with an overview and ending with an insightful, well-reasoned conclusion. Two appendixes clarify the authors’ methodology in compiling and presenting data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. A bibliography and index follow. As this book is the product of an independent group, readers can be assured that its conclusions have not been skewed by political bias. In addition, the authors have gone to great lengths to adjust data as necessary to ensure statistically accurate analyses. VERDICT The definitive source for impartial information about economic disparities in the United States; highly recommended for public and academic libraries. —Jennifer Michaelson, Cleveland

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


Davis, Anita Price. The Margaret Mitchell Encyclopedia. McFarland. May 2013. 240p. bibliog. ISBN 9780786468553. pap. $75; ebk. ISBN 9780786492459. REF

McVicker, Mary F. Women Adventurers, 1750–1900: A Biographical Dictionary, with Excerpts from Selected Travel Writings. 2d ed. McFarland. 2013. 224p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780786475094. pap. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781476603070. REF


Laffal, Florence & Julius Laffal. American Self-Taught Art: An Illustrated Analysis of 20th Century Artists and Trends with 1,319 Capsule Biographies. 2d ed. McFarland. 2013. 368p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780786475193. pap. $25. REF


Men’s Health Concerns Sourcebook. 4th ed. Omnigraphics. ( Health Reference). 2013. 640p. ed. by Sandra J. Judd. ISBN 9780780812635. $95. Online: Credo Reference, ebrary, Gale, MyiLibrary, Rittenhouse R2 Digital Library REF


Icons of the American Comic Book: From Captain America to Wonder Woman. 2 vols. Greenwood.(Greenwood Icons). 2013. 920p. ed. by Randy Duncan & Matthew J. Smith. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313399237. $189. Online: ABC-CLIO eBook Collection REF

Encyclopedia of the Mind. 2 vols. SAGE. 2013. 896p. ed. by Harold Pashler. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781412950572. $175. Online: SAGE Reference Online REF


Dulberger, Michael D. America’s Ranking Among Nations: A Global Perspective of the United States in Graphic Detail. Bernan Pr. 2013. 201p. illus. index. ISBN 9781598886030. pap. $65. REF

Spatz, Lyle. Historical Dictionary of Baseball. Scarecrow. ( Historical Dictionaries of Sports). 2012. 504p. bibliog. illus. ISBN 9780810878129. $115; ebk. ISBN 9780810879546. Online: eBooks on EBSCOhost, Overdrive, MyiLibrary, EBL, & Questia REF