Review by Choice Review
Hispanic American Religious Cultures is a pioneering work. Although Gary Laderman and Luis Leon's Religion and American Cultures: An Encyclopedia of Traditions, Diversity, and Popular Expressions (CH, Feb'04, 41-3152) offers a 26-page section titled "Latina/Latino Religious Communities," it cannot compare with the extensive coverage in this new two-volume work, in which editor De La Torre offers 118 entries on Latino/a religious culture, including topics ("border saints," "Dia de los Muertos," "pilgrimage"), peoples ("Cuban Americans," "Mexican Americans," "Puerto Ricans"), and individuals (Cesar Chavez, Francisco Olazabal, Gregoria Ortega). Relevant individuals without entries of their own receive briefer coverage in sidebars and text within topical entries. These entries, which extend into volume 2, are followed by 18 essays that provide in-depth treatment of especially significant topics, such as "Latino/a Theology," "Liberation Theology," "Pastoral Care and Counseling," and "Popular Religion." Unannotated references for further reading follow each entry and essay. Scattered black-and-white illustrations accompany the text. Contributors' names and institutional affiliations and information about the editor appear at the end of volume 2. A detailed index ensures accessibility for terms of interest that appear throughout the work. This is an indispensable title for academic and public libraries because of its unique focus on religion across the Hispanic American spectrum. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers. C. Hendershott The New School
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
Hispanic American Religious Cultures finally gives an important topic the attention it deserves. The first part of the set is made up of A-Z entries, and the second part contains essays covering broader-based themes. The average A-Z entry in part 1 is six pages long, with a two- to five-source bibliography. Most of the obvious topics are covered, particularly faith groups. Catholicism is just one of several groups considered along with Buddhism, Islam, Protestantism, and Rastafarianism. Numerous entries address unique perspectives, for example, the faith of those living at or near the U.S. border. The focus is anything but biographical. Not counting the Virgin Mary, Hispanic American Religious Cultures includes only three biographical entries, per se (including one for Cesar Chavez). Lightly scattered throughout the set, though, are small text boxes devoted to individuals bearing some connection to the topic being considered. At least a dozen of ithe entries cover topics that have a strong connection to culture but only a minimal connection to religion (e.g., Cuban revolution, Environmentalism, Immigration, Machismo). The second part of the set has essays on theological themes, like Christology and Ecclesiology. One weakness is a lack of cross-references, although this is nearly made up for with an impressive index. The tone of the work is suitable for most academic and large public libraries. Highly recommended. Also available as an e-book.--Osburn, Wade Copyright 2010 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.