Reference Reviews | September 15, 2013

redstar Herbst, Sharon Tyler & Ron Herbst. The New Food Lover’s Companion. 5th ed. Barron’s. Sept. 2013. 928p. bibliog. ISBN 9781438001630. pap. $16.99. REF

With more than 7,000 A to Z entries, this title, now in its fifth edition, has been expanded to include new international entries and information about nutrition and deciphering food labels as well as numerous updates. The title is not a cookbook but serves as a handy reference guide that includes conversion charts and information on cooking techniques, herbs, spices, tools, wines, and much more. The entries are organized like a dictionary with a handy thumb index on the fore edge. The bulk of the book is dedicated to the individual entries, but a number of useful appendixes cover such topics as ingredient equivalents, substituting ingredients, a microwave conversion chart, smoke points of oils, food label terms, a pasta glossary, meat cut diagrams, and more. The “Food Label Term” appendix is particularly useful for readers who want to know what sodium free, natural flavorings, and the like really mean. VERDICT This excellent and easy-to-use volume is a fantastic compendium on all things food. The entries are well written and thorough given the scope of the book.—Lisa Ennis, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham

redstar Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Archaeology. 2 vols. Oxford Univ. (Encyclopedias of the Bible). 2013. 1188p. ed. by Daniel M. Master. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780199846535. $295. REF

This latest installment in the series fully lives up to the standards readers have come to expect from Oxford University Press titles. Master (archaeology, Wheaton Coll.), field director for the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon, has assembled a contributor list that forms a “Who’s Who” of world-renowned archaeologists and biblical scholars, contributing articles in their areas of expertise. Their approach is to use archaeological evidence to provide context about the lives and culture of the writers of the biblical texts, not to reconstruct textual history or to link individual finds to specific passages. The 130 signed, alphabetically arranged articles cover individual archaeological sites, regions, and general topics such as material culture; each is followed by a bibliography and cross-references. Black-and-white illustrations accompany the pieces where needed, and a comprehensive index helps locate subject matter. The articles are written for a general audience, but those unfamiliar with archaeological practice might find it dense. VERDICT This excellent survey of biblical archaeology will be useful for any researcher interested in the topic. It is too specialized for smaller public libraries but should be considered for larger public research institutions, college and university libraries supporting archaeology departments, and theology libraries interested in biblical scholarship.—Amanda K. Sprochi, Univ. of Missouri-Columbia

Liu, Charles. The Handy Astronomy Answer Book. Visible Ink. Sept. 2013. 368p. illus. index. ISBN 9781578594191. pap. $21.95. REF

Each question functions as the heading to an informational paragraph in this lively overview of the history and basic principles of astronomy. The first chapter serves to ground the reader with definitions of general terms. Brief introductions to the astronomical understanding of different cultures throughout history are included as are major individuals and their accomplishments in modern times. This work isn’t intended for absolute beginners, as each chapter covers an aspect of astronomy—the planets, the universe, galaxies, etc.—sometimes using terms such as retrograde motion without definitions, assuming the reader will understand. Although the question-and-answer format makes the book seem like one big glossary, the multipage index often serves to point readers to definitions. Full-color illustrations amplify the text beautifully and brilliantly throughout. VERDICT This clearly written and up-to-date title—it includes a readable definition and description of the Higgs boson particle—is an informative and browsable addition for young adults and adults.—Frances E. Millhouser, formerly with ­Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA

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The following titles are reviewed in this month's print issue.
Visit Book Verdict for the full reviews.


Reid, Paula. World’s Most Dangerous Jobs. Summersdale. Oct. 2013. 208p. ISBN 9781849532921. $15.95. REF


Rose, James M. Generations: The WPA Ex-Slave Narrative Genealogical Resource Database; Ex-Slaves with Virginia Origins.C learfield Co. (Generations, Vol. 1). 2013. photos. DVD. ISBN 9780806380544. $39.99. REF

The 2000s in America. 3 vols. Grey House. (Decades). 2013. 1493p. ed. by Craig Belander. photos. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781429838832. $455. REF


The American Dream. 266p. ed. by Keith Newlin. ISBN 9781429838214; ebk. ISBN 9781429838375.
American Road Literature. 347p. ed. by Ronald Primeau. ISBN 9781429838191; ebk. ISBN 9781429838351.
Contemporary Speculative Fiction. 263p. ed. by M. Keith Booker. ISBN 9781429838207; ebk. ISBN 9781429838368.
Crime and Detective Fiction. 265p. ed. by Rebecca Martin. ISBN 9781429838221; ebk. ISBN 9781429838382.
Crisis of Faith. 300p. ed. by Robert C. Evans. ISBN 9781429838252; ebk. ISBN 9781429838412.
Literature of Protest. 279p. ed. by Kimberly Drake. ISBN 9781429838269; ebk. ISBN 9781429838429.
Pulp Fiction of the 1920s and 1930s. 230p. ed. by Gary Hoppenstand. ISBN 9781429838276; ebk. ISBN 9781429838436.
ea. vol: Grey House. (Critical Insights). 2013. bibliog. index. $85. REF


Biomes and Ecosystems. 4 vols. Salem. 2013. 3304p. ed. by Robert Warren Howarth. index. ISBN 9781429838139. $395. REF

Swanson, Sarah & Max Smith. Must-See Birds of the Pacific Northwest: 85 Unforgettable Species, Their Fascinating Lives, and How To Find Them. T imber. 2013. 244p. photos. ISBN 9781604693379. pap. $19.95. REF

Social sciences

Borgen, Mack W. The Relevance of Reason: The Hard Facts and Real Data About the State of Current America; Business and Politics. Brody & Schmitt. (Chance of a Lifetime). 2013. 407p. index. ISBN 9780989399609. $24.95; pap. ISBN 9780989399616. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9780989399623. REF