Short Takes

DeSilva, Regis A. Heart Disease. Greenwood. (Biographies of Disease). 2013. 276p. illus. index. ISBN 9780313376061. $45; ebk. ISBN 9780313376078. REF

There are many mysteries related to the human heart, but it’s a cold, hard fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the West. For that reason alone, the latest entry in this series deserves special attention. DeSilva (medicine, Harvard Medical Sch.; cardiologist, Beth Israel Deaconess, Boston) traces the fascinating course of cardiology history, from early concepts about circulation to today’s life-saving surgical treatments. He supplies a wealth of detail in lay terms and underscores the importance of disease prevention. A glossary and chronology are provided. VERDICT An intellectual yet accessible narrative on a number-one killer.

Encyclopedia of Japanese American Internment. Greenwood. 2013. 342p. ed. by Gary Y. Okihiro. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313399152. $89. REF

Was it “military necessity,” as the order invoked—or simply racism? Okihiro (international and public affairs, Columbia Univ.) makes a compelling case for the latter in this reference collecting topical, event, and biographical entries related to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. The work is supplemented by a host of primary source materials, including the heartbreaking photographs of the camps and testimony of internees at hearings leading to the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, in which a formal apology was issued. A chronology is provided. VERDICT A critical compendium documenting a shameful, often overlooked part of World War II history.

Nadeau, Kathleen & Sangita Rayamajhi. Women’s Roles in Asia. Greenwood. (Women’s Roles Through History). 2013. 208p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780313397486. $58. REF

In this slim yet sweeping entry in a series intending to reclaim women’s place in history, Nadeau (anthropology, California State Univ., San Bernardino) and Rayamajhi (literature & women’s studies, Tribhuvan Univ., Nepal) seek to get past the stereotyping of Asian women as well as to put such practices as purdah and sati in the “social and historical contexts in which they are grounded.” In six essay chapters the authors discuss Asian women’s roles in religion, work, family, politics, literature, and cultural change. A chronology and a glossary are provided. ­VERDICT A succinct analysis and overview of important issues for Asian and women’s studies collections.

Walker, Richard A. & Suresh K. Lodha. The Atlas of California: Mapping the Challenge of a New Era. Univ. of California. (Atlas of…). 2013. 128p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9780520272026. pap. $24.95. REF

What’s the true picture of California? Often, the rather hazy focal point of the American Dream, the Golden State gets the “reality” treatment in this atlas that brings together the latest research and statistics in a largely graphic form. In ten concise chapters, Walker (professor emeritus, geography, Univ. of California, Berkeley) and Lodha (computer science, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz) provide pithy commentary and full-color charts, maps, and other key visuals to detail California’s fascinating demographic, economic, and environmental composition and discuss its singular opportunities and challenges. A sources list is provided. VERDICT A vibrant statistical snapshot of this myth-inspiring U.S. state.—Judy Quinn, formerly with Library Journal