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Encyclopedia of African American history /

Other Authors: Alexander, Leslie M., Rucker, Walter C., 1970-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, 2010
Series: American ethnic experience.
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Review by Choice Review

This resource should be particularly valuable once the electronic version is available. Its design centers on four essays that are divided into 650 smaller essays or entries. The four essays are "Atlantic African, American and European Backgrounds to Contact, Commerce and Enslavement"; "Culture, Identity and Community: From Slavery to the Present"; "Political Activity and Resistance to Oppression: From the American Revolution to the Civil War"; and "Political Activity, Migration, and Urbanization: Reconstruction, Civil Rights, and Modern African America." Both the essays and the entries themselves are well footnoted, with the entries each containing several references when possible. Entries include both broad and narrow topics, and are not limited in any fashion, e.g., the entry on the slave trade includes material on all the European powers that participated, along with the African nations.What will serve readers well in print, but particularly so in the online environment, is the attention paid to persons, groups, and topics that often are not included in such works. For example, an essay titled "Black Conservatives" gives an overview and history of the topic and, of course, references prominent people in that history. Many of the people mentioned are also presented elsewhere in the book. This sort of cross-referencing creates a rich tapestry within the three volumes. The essays are generally well written by a large number of contributors. Occasionally, an essay may differ with the prevailing historiography, such as the one on Al Sharpton that makes no mention of the doubts concerning Tawana Brawley's veracity. But most essays are written as historical documents rather than journalism. Each volume is thoroughly indexed. With its stronger focus on Europe and Africa, this set complements other African American history works that are more US-centric, such as Encyclopedia of African American History, ed. by Paul Finkelman (CH, Sep'09, 47-0041). Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates; general readers. C. Williams CUNY Hunter College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

Intended as an introduction to the totality of the African American experience, from beginnings in precolonial Atlantic Africa through the dawn of the 21st century, this encyclopedia is organized into four broad sections: Atlantic African, American, and European Backgrounds to Contact, Commerce, and Enslavement ; Culture, Identity, and Community: From Slavery to the Present ; Political Activity and Resistance to Oppression: From the American Revolution to the Civil War ; and Political Activity, Migration, and Urbanization: Civil Rights and the Modern African American. If only history were so neat. No matter how it is organized, an encyclopedia fragments knowledge. For example, the first section includes an article on the Atlantic slave trade and one on the Trans-Saharan slave trade while the third section has an article on the Domestic slave trade. The trans-Saharan article includes a see reference to the Atlantic trade article, but no references link the others. Nor does the index include a general entry for the slave trade but only separate entries for each of the three articles. Furthermore, it appears that see references limit their reach to other articles in the same section. Those willing to scan the list of contents in each of the four sections can make serendipitous rather than systematic connections among the articles. Each of the four sections is introduced by a 5,000-word essay. Ranging in length from 300 to 4,000 words, the more than 650 very readable signed articles are informative and conclude with brief bibliographies of books and articles for more in-depth information. An undeniable strength is the second section's coverage of a variety of topics about cultural phenomena that transcend historical periods (e.g., Animal trickster stories, Black wedding traditions, Family patterns, Hoodoo, Sweetgrass baskets, Work songs). Despite its awkward organization and weak linking mechanisms, the encyclopedia complements related works such as The African American Encyclopedia (2d ed., Marshall Cavendish, 2001) and Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (Gale, 2006). Recommended for academic and public libraries. Also available as an e-book.--Rettig, James Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Written by project editors and members of the editorial board, four 5000-word essays make up the meat of this resource: "Atlantic African, American, and European Backgrounds to Contact, Commerce, and Enslavement," "Culture, Identity, and Community: From Slavery to the Present," "Political Activity and Resistance to Oppression from the American Revolution to the Civil War," and "Political Activity, Migration, and Urbanization: Reconstruction, Civil Rights, and Modern African America." There are more than 650 topically arranged shorter essays that range in length from 300 to 4000 words. More than 100 librarians, graduate students, and professional historians wrote these briefer pieces for intelligent and interested nonspecialists. Each entry is clear, factual, and explanatory; each essay and theme has a bibliography or notes for further research. BOTTOM LINE Although this work is aimed at high school students and college undergraduates, graduate students and advanced scholars in the fields of American history, African American history, ethnic studies, and black studies will find it an accessible and useful resource.-Al Vara, Temple Univ. Lib., Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-This work presents more than 650 entries by theme, and within that, alphabetically and then chronologically. Access is relatively easy thanks to multiple "see also" references at the conclusion of nearly every article, a systematic subject index, and an uncommonly detailed set index at each volume's end that is also laced with cross-references. Of the five large sections, one covers African-American culture from "Anansi the Spider" to "Tupac Shakur." The others divvy up African-American history, beginning with articles on the African slave trade and continuing through to Barack Obama's presidential election. Each section opens with an overview essay and then gathers dozens of articles that run from about 300 to 4000 words. The scope and depth of the articles also vary widely, from a biographical sketch of Queen Nzinga to a multiple-page discussion of the NAACP. The coherent entries, which are free of jargon and editorial commentary, close with short lists of recent books. Though the 200 or so black-and-white photos and other reproductions are well chosen, they make for a thin showing in a work of this size. Paul Finkelman's Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-First Century (2006) and his Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895: From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass (2009, both Oxford Univ.) are the first choices for this audience, closely followed, only because of publication date, by Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates's Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience (Oxford Univ., 2005). Still, this set may have some appeal as an update for older print resources, or for less-well-heeled general collections. The associated ebook version will be available this month.-John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.