Reference Short Takes | June 15, 2013

Axelrod, Alan. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: The Real Language of the Modern American Military. Skyhorse, dist. by Norton. Jun. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9781620876473. pap. $12.95. REF

Axelrod, a prolific writer on military topics, tours modern military slang via six topical chapters, including “Cake Eaters and Chicken Guts.” As the author acknowledges, the sources for some of his entries are from “official” authorities such as the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military Terms (available online at and Stephen F. Tomajczyk’s Dictionary of the Modern United States Military, (LJ 2/1/96), but Axelrod’s main focus is “unofficial” terms, such as soldiers’ rework of the “What the…” curse as expressed in this book’s title. While highly readable, this reference would have benefited from an overall index. VERDICT A colorful reference for libraries serving veterans and veteran studies audiences.

Martin, Judith & Nicholas Ivor Martin. Miss Manners Minds Your Business. Norton. Sept. 2013. 288p. index. ISBN 9780393081367. $25.95. REF

The balancing and blurring of work and family roles has created “etiquette chaos,” proclaims Judith Martin, who responds with her trademark wit to a host of thorny workplace-behavior questions in this new guide. Martin organizes questions and answers into 15 topical chapters and provides humorous yet helpful advice in the vein of Philip Galanes’s Social Q’s (LJ 6/15/11). Rather surprisingly, the contributions of Martin’s coauthor son, an executive at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, are not particularly clear. An index, to be included in the published edition, was not seen. VERDICT An enjoyable collection that will defuse—if not fully solve—modern workplace dilemmas.

Neville, Peter. Historical Dictionary of British Foreign Policy. Scarecrow. (Historical Dictionaries of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations). 2013. 390p. bibliog. ISBN 9780810871731. $105; ISBN 9780810873711. REF

This new dictionary, designed by Neville, research associate at the University of Westminster and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, focuses on modern British diplomacy from the formation of the Foreign Office in 1782. A chronology and narrative introduction tee up more than 300 entries covering key British and related world-stage players and issues, including the “special relationship” with the United States. An appendix listing all British prime ministers and foreign secretaries from this period and a bibliography are also provided. Neville’s work will naturally benefit from future updates, with Margaret Thatcher’s death, for example, not included in this edition. VERDICT A handy reference for Anglophiles, history buffs, and foreign-affairs collections.

Yanow, Scott. The Great Jazz Guitarists: The Ultimate Guide. Backbeat Bks. 2013. 238p. ISBN 9781617130236. pap. $24.99. REF

In this new reference work, Yanow, a prolific jazz journalist, author, and a major contributor to the All Music Guide to Jazz (LJ 3/15/03), provides alphabetically organized profiles of guitarists within ranking chapters including “The 342 Great Jazz Guitarists,” “44 Other Historic Guitarists,” and “175 Other Jazz Guitarists on the Scene Today.” Entries provide distillations of musical career and impact and note recommended recordings and artist websites, where applicable, with, unfortunately, no overall index provided. Many of the profiles feature musicians’ recollections collected by the author and thus exclusive to this book. VERDICT A fine accompaniment and update to the oversize volume Masters of Jazz Guitar , published in 2000.

Zeisler, Lauren. Historical Dictionary of Ice Hockey. Scarecrow. (Historical Dictionaries of Sports). 2012. 450p. bibliog. ISBN 9780810878624. $115; ebk. ISBN 9780810878631.

Zeisler, a member of the Society for International Hockey Research, infuses her fan’s love of the game into this entertaining new title. A chronology and introductory essay provide context for the A–Z entries covering an array of players, teams, associations, and related topics. The majority of the references relate to men’s ice hockey, although entries are included for more well-known female athletes. End matter includes appendixes of main franchises and Hall of Fame inductees and champions, as well as an extensive bibliography. VERDICT A lively addition for sports reference collections.— Judy Quinn, formerly with Library Journal