Review by Choice Review
The editor and contributors have combined to produce a selective but valuable reference and research guide in American history. It profiles 278 prominent figures from the period of exploration and discovery to the present. Individuals are drawn from most areas of public life (government, the military, religion, reform movements, business, crime, etc.), the major exceptions being studio and dramatic arts and literature. Entries are four to eight pages in length and are arranged alphabetically. Each one follows a standard outline and contains a chronology of the person's life and an explanation of significant accomplishments; perceptive "Overviews" and "Evaluations" of biographies and primary sources; relevant museums, landmarks, and societies; fictional accounts and adaptations; and a selection of secondary writings. Three appendixes group persons by historical period, index museums and landmarks by location, and provide the addresses of research libraries and historical societies referred to in the text. The contributors are predominantly historians or others affiliated with academic institutions or historical societies. Their biographical sketches--and especially the selection, review, and critical evaluation of the sources--make this an excellent introduction to historical biography. It is well suited to undergraduates, is accessible to high school students, and will be useful to graduate students and faculty for reference and teaching purposes. Recommended to libraries at all academic levels. -F. Oscadal, Dartmouth College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
This examination of 278 individuals significant to American history is a ready reference dream come true. Each entry contains a chronology; activities of historical significance; overviews of general, principal, and primary sources; comments on fictions and adaptations of the life; notes on museums; and other sources. This can be used to answer reference questions, for reader's advisory, interlibrary loan, or as an ordering tool. The accuracy and balance of the subject matter is admirable; only the entry on Thomas Edison is riddled with errors. Binding, typography, and layout are excellent. The only recent comparable set is Great Lives from History: American Series ( LJ 6/1/87), which contains twice as many entries, but which is less analytical and is narrower in bibliographic coverage. For the wealth of detail and the diversity of application, this would be a fine purchase for most libraries.-- James Moffet, Baldwin P.L., Birmingham, Mich. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.