Reference Reviews | June 1, 2013

Encyclopedia of the Environment in American Literature. McFarland. 2013. 350p. ed. by Geoff Hamilton & Brian Jones. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780786465415. pap. $75; ebk. ISBN 9781476600536. REF

A good writer can invoke a powerful sense of place and by doing so can influence the reader’s impression of a landscape. This encyclopedia, which includes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, compiles a wide selection of authors whose work the editors feel inspired American perspectives regarding the environment of the New World. The book excludes scientific writings and focuses on authors whose work represents American pastoral, gothic, naturalistic, apocalyptic, conservation, transcendental, and ideological writings. Although many of these authors are environmental writers (John Muir, Rachel Carson) for others, the sense of place was extremely important in their work (Willa Cather, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau). The accounts of Christopher Columbus and Lewis and Clark provide examples of early impressions of the American frontier, while material by Michael Crichton and Edgar Rice Burroughs offers more imaginative perspectives. Entries are arranged by the author’s last name and provide engaging bibliographic information and descriptions of the writer’s major works. References to other authors can be found in the body of the entries, but the work would be easier to use as a reference tool had this information been located at the beginning or end of the text. A chronology or list of categories indicating the author’s school of thought or area of influence would also have been helpful. There is no table of contents. These minor issues are easily forgiven by the inclusion of truly engaging biographies and literary evaluations. Readers will be left with a desire to learn more. VERDICT An enjoyable and reliable resource for those interested in the influence of place and environment in American literature.—Susanne Caro, Univ. of Montana Lib., Missoula

McKenney, Janice E. Women of the Constitution: Wives of the Signers. Scarecrow. 2012. 241p. bibliog. illus. index. ISBN 9780810884984. $50; ebk. ISBN 9780810884991. REF

McKenney (Field ArtilleryAir Defence Artillery) here provides concise details on the wives of the signers of the U.S. Constitution. The book, a project of the District of Columbia Daughters of the American Revolution, is well researched, with information from primary sources where available. Each entry begins with a block of basic biographical data such as places and dates of birth and death and details on the woman’s marriage and children; the entries that follow provide further facts about the wives’ education, family, and married life. Most of the entries include a photo or illustration and all entries include notes and a bibliography. An appendix provides information about the historic homes of the subjects. VERDICT Any researcher interested in women’s lives in Colonial America could use this title as a starting point for their research. The book will be a useful addition to reference collections at school, public, and two-year college libraries.—Diane Fulkerson, Univ. of South Florida, Lakeland

Encyclopedia of Latin American Music. Greenwood. 2013. 484p. ed. by George Torres. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313340314. $100; ebk. ISBN 9780313087943. REF

Edited by Torres (world music & music history, Lafayette Coll.), this work on the musical styles, genres, and instruments of Latin America uses a broad definition of Latin America, defining it as “the Spanish-, Portuguese-, and French-speaking countries of the Western Hemisphere south of the United States.” In addition to music with origins and influence in these countries, Latin American music that has origins in the United States or popularity in the Caribbean is also included. The comprehensive treatment features everything from calypso to polka and from Latin jazz to samba. Similar material appears in Volume 2 of theGarland Encyclopedia of World Music, entitled South America, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. The Garland articles are organized solely by country of origin and contain information about popular and folk music, specifics that also appear in Torres’s more accessible work. For example, Torres’s entry on Cuba discusses the music history and basic cultural history of the country in brief detail. VERDICT Young adults and adults interested in world music or Latin American music and culture will find this book useful. It does a great job of covering the history and components of a wide array of musical genres, from indigenous to more modern.—Jennifer Stith, Johnson C. Smith Univ., Charlotte, NC

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

Languages & Literature

Ó Murchú, Pól. A Grammar of Modern Irish: An Annotated Guide to Graiméar Gaeilge na mBráithre Críostaí.Pól Ó Murchú. 2013. 404p. index. ISBN 9780983660514. pap. $24.95. REF


The Bloomsbury Companion to Islamic Studies. Bloomsbury. (Continuum Companions). 2013. 432p. ed. by Clinton Bennett. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781441127884. $190; ebk. ISBN 9781441138125. REF

Kapic, Kelly M. & Wesley Vander Lugt. Pocket Dictionary of the Reformed Tradition. IVP Academic: InterVarsity. (Pocket Reference). Jun. 2013. 128p. ISBN 9780830827084. pap. $8. REF


Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: Vol. 7: China, India, and East and South East Asia: Assessing Sustainability. 409p. ed by Sam Geall, & others. ISBN 9781933782690.
Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: Vol. 8: Americas and Oceania: Assessing Sustainability. 409 p. ed by Sara G. Beavis & others. ISBN 97819337282188.
Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: Vol. 9: Afro-Eurasia: Assessing Sustainability. 388p. ed. by Louis Kotze & Stephen Morse. ISBN 9781933782195.
Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability: Vol. 10: The Future of Sustainability. 421p. ed. by Ray C. Anderson. ISBN 9781933782638.
ea vol.: Berkshire Pub. Group. 2012. illus. maps. bibliog. index. $150. REF

Mammals of Africa Vol. 6: Pigs, Hippopotamuses, Chevrontain, Giraffe, Deer and Bovids. Bloomsbury. 2013. 704p. ed. by Jonathan Kingdon. bibliog. ISBN 9781408122563. $219.50. REF


Computer Technology Innovators. Salem Pr. 2013. 414p. ed. by Salem Pr. Eds. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781429838054. $95. REF