Home 9 Against the Grain 9 v25 #1 From the Reference Desk

v25 #1 From the Reference Desk

by | Apr 3, 2013 | 0 comments

by Tom Gilson  (Associate Editor, Against the Grain, and Head of Reference Emeritus, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29401)  <[email protected]>

SAGE Reference releases another title in its ever-growing collection of single-volume encyclopedias with the publication of the Encyclopedia of Trauma: An Interdisciplinary Guide (2012, 978-1412978798, $375).  Edited by Charles R. Figley of Pennsylvania State University, this reference consists of more than 280 signed entries that examine numerous types of trauma utilizing a multidisciplinary approach.  As such, traumas resulting from both behavioral and neurobiological sources are explored.

It is important to note the serious meaning of trauma as applied in this work.  Traumas are seen as major upheavals and catastrophes that cause significant suffering.  They are more than chronic stresses in one’s life that can be resolved.  They are rather occurrences where “the life enhancing balances and developments are irretrievably disturbed.”  A look at the encyclopedia’s Reader’s Guide bears this out.  Articles run from those on workplace violence and sexual abuse by clergy to those on community disasters and battered women.  There are also entries that discuss trauma from anthropological, archaeological, and psychological perspectives with articles like: Racial and Ethnic Factors; Rituals and Ceremonies and Bereavement.  In addition, other articles discuss trauma as it relates to a number of other areas including war and combat, crime and law, medicine, religion and spirituality as well as entries related to ethical and philosophical issues.  The articles are text-rich with few, but relevant, illustrations.  The writing is precise, factual, and informed by recent scholarship.  The requisite Readers Guide, bibliographies, “see also” references, and well-structured index are provided and increase the value for both students and faculty.  In short, this is another quality SAGE production.

The Encyclopedia of Trauma: An Interdisciplinary Guide reflects the growth of a once narrow specialty that has blossomed into a field with far broader implications.  Not only does this work provide relevant background definitions and explanations of diverse issues and concepts, it reflects the increasing professionalization of trauma studies as a discipline.  The approach is substantive and scholarly but accessible to students and the informed lay reader.  Many academic libraries will be tempted to place this single-volume reference in their circulating collections.  (This title is also available online via SAGE Knowledge.)

Global Social Issues: An Encyclopedia (2012, 978-0-7656-8292-5, $349) from Sharpe Reference deals with a much broader topic and is intended for a broader audience than SAGE’s Encyclopedia of Trauma.  Edited by veteran encyclopedia editor James Climent and Christopher G. Bates of California State Polytechnic Institute at Pomona, this three-volume set contains 136 individual chapters discussing specific global issues that would be of interest to upper division high school students, undergraduates, and the interested lay reader.

Almost every chapter provides a section on historical background while at the same time trying to place a geographic perspective on the issue by noting its importance and impacts in a variety of countries and regions.  In addition, the current and future status of the issue is given a solid airing.  Generally, two primary source documents, or excerpts from the document, are provided for each issue — one historic, the other contemporary.  While sticking to a general formula there is no exact template employed for these chapter.  As a result, some chapters offer more comprehensive treatments.  However, each one fulfills its mission by providing a solid foundation for further exploration.  Value-added features include a topic finder divided by broad categories, lists of further readings for each chapter, and a general index.

Global Social Issues: An Encyclopedia is the type of reference work that students will naturally turn to in order to locate background information on a topic.  Each chapter provides a straightforward treatment that places the issue in historic context while keeping a focus on current status and recent developments.  In addition, each chapter offers solid leads to books, journal articles, and Web resources useful in furthering a student’s research.  Libraries serving undergraduates and high school students with assignments on global issues will find this set worth considering.

(It is also available on Sharpe Online Reference.)

The African American Electorate; a Statistical History (2012, 978-0872895089, $350) is a two-volume set from CQ Press that claims to be a “pioneering study” offering “the first systematic and comprehensive longitudinal analysis of the African America electorate in America.”  As one examines the highly detailed table of contents, it becomes obvious that this set will live up to its promise.  This reference is a treasure trove of statistical information and narrative explanation uniquely focused on the evolving story of African American suffrage rights.

Utilizing a chronological approach, African American Electorate traces this compelling story from the electoral participation of “Free-Women-and-Men-of-Color in Colonial America to their electoral disenfranchisement in the same era and into subsequent eras,” followed by the slow but determined march toward voting rights and full enfranchisement after the Civil War.  Interspersed throughout are literally hundreds of statistical tables and charts as well as numerous maps that help bring the narrative to life.

Given the wealth of information contained in these two volumes, a reader-friendly arrangement along with helpful finding aids is vital.  Fortunately, attention has been paid to these concerns.  The detailed table of contents referenced earlier is present in both volumes, and investing time examining it gives the researcher a solid grasp of the scope and comprehensiveness of the coverage.  A general index appears in both volumes and points to useful narrative information as well as specific tables, maps, and figures.  Quotations and data appear throughout, each chapter has a comprehensive list of reference notes, and there is a bibliography of all of the copyrighted sources referenced at the end of Volume Two.  There is also a cumulative bibliography that includes key data sources, government documents, primary sources, periodical articles, and online works that will prove of particular value to scholars doing extensive research in this area.

African American Electorate; a Statistical History is an impressive work of scholarship on a very significant topic.  Serious students of African American electoral history will find it an essential title.  In fact, any student interested in the African American experience will find value within these pages.  It is one of those references that will emerge as a standard in the field and is a must purchase for any academic library supporting African American studies and American political science.

(African American Electorate; a Statistical History is also available in the CQ Press Electronic Library collection.)

McFarland has published another one of its highly focused labors of love.  American Silent, Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature films 1913-1929 (2012, ISBN: 978-0-7864-3581-4;  eISBN: 978-0-7864-8790-5, $95) is a two-volume set that offers full essays on close to 300 films as well as shorter entries on another 85 tangential titles.  Obviously, a great deal of effort and time went into searching for possible relevant titles in sources like the AFI Catalog (American File Institute);  then culling those titles that actually fit within the horror, science fiction, and fantasy genres; and then finally selecting those worthy of inclusion.  It is little wonder that it took a team including authors John T. Soister and Henry Nicolella, contributors Steve Joyce and Harry H. Long along with researcher/archivist Bill Chase working together to produce this set.

The entries in the main list of films as well as those in the appendix of tangential titles, include the full title of the film, the production company or studio, the date of release, the number of reels, and whether the film is available or lost.  This is followed by a full list of cast members and a list of credits including the producer, director, cinematographer, etc.  These basic facts are then followed by a narrative essay that outlines the plot, discussed various performers and contributors, and provides critical commentary.  The information in these entries is gathered from reviews and documentation of the time, actual viewings of the film when possible, and secondary sources published by later researchers.  The entries are written in an entertaining, sometimes tongue-in-cheek style that is nonetheless fact-filled and informed.  Black-and-white photos complement the text, and there is a bibliography of primary and secondary sources as well as a general index including film titles and individual contributors along with relevant page numbers. There is also a list of acknowledgements in Volume One that attests to the amount of research that has gone into producing this reference.

In all likelihood, American Silent, Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature films 1913-1929 will have a specialized but enthusiastic audience.  Grounded in painstaking research and a thorough knowledge of the silent film era, it should be welcome in serious film reference collections in both public and academic libraries.  It should also find its way into a number of circulation collections, given its more than reasonable price and reader-friendly approach.


Extra Servings

Grey House Publishing has announced that they will become the publisher and distributor of the print editions of the Salem Press product line under a new exclusive license between EBSCO Publishing (EBSCO) and Grey House Publishing.  Although their product line has expanded over the years, Salem Press is probably best known for publishing various literary references like Magill’s Literary Annual, the Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, and the various Masterplots series.

Grey House Publishing also adds another title to its Working Americans series of books that focus on economic and social facts related to American work life.  Grey House, Working Americans 1880-2012 Volume XIII Educators & Education (ISBN: 978-1-59237-877-7, $150) “highlights American educators — from traditional teachers to unlikely mentors, from coaches to authors, from parents to program innovators…  Profiles examine life at home, at work and in the community.  The highly readable narrative is supported by hard facts and real life situations drawn from diaries, private print books, family histories, estate documents, magazine articles, and more…”

SAGE Reference will publish a couple of new sets including:

Encyclopedia of Crisis Management (ISBN: 978-1-4129-2612-5 $350; eISBN: 978-1-4522-7595-6, $438) is a two-volume reference that will make its appearance in March 2013.  According to SAGE, this work “presents tools for individual and joint decision making to successfully deal with a major crisis.  It also provides an overview of theories and techniques for assessing, analyzing, managing, and resolving organizational, business, community, and political crises…

Another two-volume set entitled Sociology of Education: An A-to-Z Guide (ISBN: 978-1-4522-0505-2, $350; eISBN: 978-1-4522-7615-1) is set for a June 2013 release.  SAGE claims that it will introduce “students to the social constructions of our educational systems and their many players, including students and their peers, teachers, parents, the broader community, politicians, and policy makers.  The roles of schools, the social processes governing schooling, and impacts on society are all critically explored…”

Oxford University Press has some new and recent titles of interest.

Published in Dec 2012, The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Military and Diplomatic History (ISBN13: 9780199759255, $295) is a two-volume set that attempts an “assessment and analysis of the key episodes, issues and actors in the military and diplomatic history of the United States… The Oxford Encyclopedia will present itself as the first recourse for scholars wishing to deepen their understanding of the crucial features of the historical and contemporary foreign policy landscape and its perennially martial components…”

February of 2013 will see the release of The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History (ISBN13: 9780199764358, $295) which purports to gather “together in one two-volume set the record of the nation’s values, aspirations, anxieties, and beliefs as expressed in both everyday life and formal bodies of thought… the encyclopedia incorporates popular entertainment ranging from minstrel shows to video games, middlebrow ventures like Chautauqua lectures and book clubs, and preoccupations such as “Perfectionism” and “Wellness” that have shaped Americans’ behavior at various points in their past and that continue to influence attitudes in the present…”

Cambridge University Press also has a couple of recent and new titles:

In December 2012, Cambridge University Press published the Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice (ISBN: 9780521196277, $425) a three-volume set “which offers 287 entries written by 166 scholars and practitioners drawn from diverse jurisdictions and includes detailed country studies; entries on transitional justice institutions and organizations; descriptions of transitional justice methods, processes, and practices; examinations of key debates and controversies; and a glossary of relevant terms and concepts…”

March 2013 will see the publication of The Cambridge History of Religions in the Ancient World (ISBN: 9781107019997, $225) a two-volume work that “provides a comprehensive examination of the history of the religions of the ancient Near East and Mediterranean world. The essays in these volumes have a broad reach, covering the ancient Near East and Mediterranean, and extending from the Bronze Age into the late Roman period…”

In November 2012 Wiley published the three-volume Encyclopedia of Financial Models (ISBN: 978-1-1180-0673-3.  $900; eISBN: 978-1-1185-3995-8, $799.99.)  According to the publisher, this set “covers both established and cutting-edge models and discusses their real-world applications.  Edited by Frank Fabozzi, this set includes contributions from global financial experts as well as academics with extensive consulting experience in this field…” and covers “everything from asset pricing and bond valuation models to trading cost models and volatility — and provides readers with a balanced understanding of today’s dynamic world of financial modeling…”

And last but not least, the ten-volume Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability is now available electronically via both Credo Reference and Gale Cengage.  Discounts are available for print/digital bundles.  (The hardcover print set is available for $1500, ISBN: 9781933782010.)


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