Sample Reviews

A selection of reviews in various subject areas is available below. Reviews are arranged in four groups: Reference, Humanities, Science & Technology, and Social & Behavioral Sciences.



George Philip and Son. Oxford atlas of the world. 10th ed. Oxford, 2002. 304p index ISBN 0-19-521919-8, $75.00

The tenth edition shows a familiar European bias (there are more large-scale maps of Europe than of any other region) and has been updated since the ninth edition (CH, Apr’02) with 11 new full-page satellite images, more recent (2000-01) statistics, new “Regions in the news,” a few updates in the “Introduction to World Geography” section, and changes to place-names and borders. New features include explanatory captions for the satellite images, the depiction of national parks and nature and game preserves on larger scale maps, island inset maps on ocean map pages, and a 32-page quick reference section called “Gazetteer of the Nations,” which supplies country summaries, flags, and economic data. Like past editions, this one includes world thematic maps, world statistics tables, two-page map spreads, metropolitan area maps, and an extensive index. The cartography, by George Philip and Son, features relief shading and elevation layer coloring. Other publishers of large-format world atlases (Times Books, National Geographic, Hammond, Rand McNally) have yet to issue revised editions since 2000, so Oxford’s is the first of the new millennium.

Summing Up:
Recommended. All levels.
— J.A. Coombs, Southwest Missouri State University

2001-49616 CIP

Jones, Terry L. Historical dictionary of the Civil War. Scarecrow, 2002. 2v bibl afp (Historical dictionaries of war, revolution, and civil unrest, 18) ISBN 0-8108-4112-6, $249.50

Jones’s set (1,700 pages), although expensive, is the best historical dictionary yet produced about the Civil War. It reflects recent scholarship and has a large and more current bibliography than Mark Boatner’s The Civil War Dictionary (rev. ed., CH, Jan’89); Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War, ed. by Patricia L. Faust (CH, Mar’87), is more visually attractive but lacks a bibliography. Jones (history, Univ. of Louisiana at Monroe), who has published three other books on Civil War history, includes a long introductory overview of the war, an extensive bibliography, and a lengthy and helpful chronology. Thousands of cross-references occur throughout the text, which offers 1,300 biographical entries and 400 additional entries on campaigns and battles, weapons, and terminology.

Summing Up:
Essential. All academic and public libraries.
— C.V. Stanley, Washington & Lee University


2002-25358 CIP

Bevington, David. Shakespeare. Blackwell, 2002. 250p bibl index afp ISBN 0-631-22718-0, $58.95; ISBN 0-631-22719-9 pbk, $19.95

Well-known editor of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (4th ed., 1997) and individual play texts (e.g., the Arden Troilus and Cressida, 1998) and author of many studies, including Action Is Eloquence (1984), Bevington (Univ. of Chicago) here condenses years of reflection on Shakespeare into a personal, unified vision of the man and his works. Thematically arranged in nine chapters, roughly following the “Seven Ages of Man” speech in As You Like It, and presented in conversational style with no footnotes, the book—and Bevington’s ideas—flow freely from play to play, returning to those already discussed when themes overlap. Beginning with an introduction establishing Shakespeare’s relevance in the present time, Bevington goes on to consider childhood and early friendship, courtship and desire, stages of maturation, political disillusionment, misogyny, fathers and daughters, and (in the last chapter) The Tempest as Shakespeare’s farewell to theater. Included are eight illustrations, explanatory notes, and suggestions for further reading acknowledging indebtedness to works that contributed to the author’s insights.

Summing Up:
Essential. A must for lower- and upper-division undergraduates; a pleasure for graduate students through faculty and for general readers.
— F.K. Barasch, emerita, Bernard M. Baruch College, CUNY


Derrida, Jacques. Without alibi. Stanford, 2002. 304p afp ISBN 0-8047-4410-6, $55.00; ISBN 0-8047-4411-4 pbk, $21.95

Derrida (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and Univ. of California, Irvine) offers this collection of five recent essays dealing with broad-ranging issues concerning humanity and the future of the world. Exhorting and challenging readers to think of the uncertain and the impossible, he explores and discusses subjects such as lying, perjury, confession, forgiveness, faith and its profession, cruelty, sovereignty, and capital punishment. The essays reveal Derrida’s knowledge of the history of ideas and his reflections on psychoanalysis. They show clearly that Derrida’s philosophical concerns go beyond the academe to the actual world in which people live and the various issues confronting humanity in the age of globalization. Like all other works by Derrida, these essays are not easy reading. The style is dense, opaque, and often rambling. Nevertheless, the reader will definitely gain insight into and understanding of the complex world of the 21st century. Copious and relevant notes.

Summing Up:
Recommended. Graduate students through faculty.
— R. Puligandla, emeritus, University of Toleda

Science & Technology

2002-68685 MARC

Geary, James. The body electric: an anatomy of the new bionic senses. Rutgers, 2002. 214p bibl index ISBN 0-8135-3194-2, $27.00

Compiling a list of 150 notable chemists is difficult because of the task of choosing scientists for inclusion and exclusion and the limitations of space in such a work. However, this compilation is notable for the omission of some national and internationally renowned chemists, particularly minorities and women, and some outstanding Nobel Prize winners. A handful of other scientists, including physicists and biologists, are included. Each entry is written to reflect not only the scientific accomplishments of the scientist but the human experiences that contributed to his or her achievements. The text is well written, and an extensive bibliography is provided. This book is recommended for addition to the literature of the history of science and the encyclopedias of science.

Summing Up:
Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates; two-year technical program students.
— L.S. Smith, emeritus, Central State University (OH)

2002-72153 MARC

Gilmore, Robert. The topology of chaos: Alice in stretch and squeezeland, by Robert Gilmore and Marc Lefranc. Wiley, 2002. 495p bibl index afp ISBN 0-471-40816-6 pbk, $84.95

Chaos and fractals got hot during the late ’70s and many books were published, not, as one might hope, because so many had something new to say, but rather because each discipline of applied science insisted on hearing the new mathematics explained by its own practitioners. But Gilmore (physics, Drexel Univ.) and Lefranc (Université des Sciences et Technologies, Lille, France) really have a new story to tell, something beyond estimating Lyapunov exponents and fractal dimension. They offer a “doubly discrete classification of strange attractors” based on the concepts of “branched manifold” and “basic set of orbits.” Though the mathematical themes they weave include unstable periodic orbits, linking numbers, braids, and horseshoes, they remain committed to applications, and their techniques evidently have the virtue of speaking even to short, noisy data sets. Chaos theory prizes universality both in a general and in a technical sense, and the authors exhibit the theoretical phenomena they describe arising in such diverse settings as the Belousov-Zhabotinskii chemical reaction, carbon dioxide lasers with modulated losses, realistic vibrating strings, and neurons with subthreshold oscillations. A short review can only hint at the wealth of ideas here. Clear and persuasive writing; rich and abundant illustrations.

Summing Up:
Highly recommended. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals.
— D.V. Feldman, University of New Hampshire

Social & Behavioral Sciences

2002-1983 CIP

Carmean, Kelli. Spider Woman walks this land: traditional cultural properties and the Navajo Nation. AltaMira, 2002. 175p bibl index afp ISBN 0-7591-0243-0, $70.00

Carmean (Eastern Kentucky Univ.) has written an excellent introduction to Navajo culture and the real-world problems facing cultural preservation of archaeological sites and traditional cultural properties. Using the Navajo Nation as an example, the author clearly illustrates the conflict between federal legislation and Navajo worldview. Carmean includes coverage of applicable federal laws in language easily understood by undergraduates. However, there is a lack of detailed explanation of Navajo Nation cultural preservation legislation currently in effect. Overall, the book is a good complement to Mihesuah’s Repatriation Reader (CH, May’01) and Native Americans and Archaeologists (1997), ed. by Swidler et al., which lack the cohesiveness evident in Carmean’s work. This reviewer is especially pleased at the author’s attempt to explain a very complex issue. However, potential instructors should review Navajo Nation legislation concerning this topic.

Summing Up:
Highly Recommended. General and undergraduate collections.
— K.F. Thompson, Northland Pioneer College

2002-2976 CIP

Paton-Walsh, Margaret. Our war too: American women against the Axis. University Press of Kansas, 2002. 238p bibl index afp ISBN 0-7006-1183-5, $35.00

Countering expectations that women by gender oppose war, Paton-Walsh focuses on women who advocated involvement against Hitler during the years before Pearl Harbor. Though she pays some attention to letters-to-the-editor, the author bases most of her work on the writing of prominent women such as Dorothy Thompson, Freda Kirchwey, and Elizabeth Cutter Morrow, and the deliberations of such organizations as the League of Women Voters, National Council of Jewish Women, the American Association of University Women, and the Women’s Trade Union League. Along the way, Paton-Walsh argues that these women understood quite well the implications of their advocacy; they were “neither led nor manipulated” into war by a wily Roosevelt. Though she observes that her subjects generally did not use gendered arguments, the author is usually content to chart zigs, zags, and trajectory rather than background or motivation. The study makes a salutary contrast to Glen Jeansonne’s Women of the Far Right (CH, Oct’96). Still, the material here could have been as effectively discussed in one or two journal articles rather than a book-length study.

Summing Up:
Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.
— A. Graebner, College of St. Catherine

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