Political parties & elections in the United States : an encyclopedia /

Other Authors: Maisel, Louis Sandy, 1945-, Bassett, Charles.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Garland Pub., 1991.
Series: Garland reference library of social science ; v. 498
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Review by Choice Review

Terms, political parties, other organizations, and individuals involved with political parties are given extensive treatment in this new set. Each entry has bibliographical references to other, related publications; but there are no cross-references to other articles within this set, so users must depend on the index. Index use is especially important since entries are not necessarily under logical headings. For instance, the major article on the Republican party is not that headed "Republican Party" but the article "Formation of the Republican Party." Occasional statistical tables, such as those on voter registration and turnout, supplement the entries. A substantial amount of information is provided on all historical presidential elections, the electoral college system, and political action committees, among other topics. Appendixes (18) list past Presidents; women, African Americans, and Hispanics in Congress; presidential election results; Speakers of the House, etc. This new set provides more extensive coverage (approximately 1,200 entries) and longer entries than such one-volume dictionaries as Peter G. Renstrom and Chester B. Rogers's The Electoral Politics Dictionary (CH, Dec'89; 404 terms), Jay M. Shafritz's The Dorsey Dictionary of American Government & Politics (CH, Oct'88), or Jack. C. Plano and Milton Greenberg's American Political Dictionary (8th ed., 1989; 4th ed., CH, Nov'76). And although many libraries have specialized sources on the electoral process and outcomes and for political biographies, this is a unique work that will enhance a medium or large political science collection for undergraduates and could perhaps provide an alternative to the purchase of several other reference books.-L. Stwalley, University of Colorado at Denver

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

Editor Maisel has harnessed the powers of 250 scholars to produce a sweeping panorama of American electoral and political party history. This montage of parties and movements, of candidates and officials, of court cases and political issues is arranged alphabetically, with a heavy slant toward the national level. Maisel's avowed intent is to fill a void for students of our partisan electoral history. Entries are brief for minor players (vice presidents, congressional leaders, governors, and big-city mayors), longer for the presidential candidates of major parties and noteworthy events (such as Vietnam War as a Political Issue), and of essay length for broad concepts (Congressional Elections, Political Patronage). Watershed presidential elections are highlighted chronologically under the entry Elections. Of the 50 elections in U.S. history, 34 are so treated. A typical entry is followed by a list of related entries, the contributor's name, and some basic references for further inquiry. Some of these bibliographies are quite lengthy; the one for Civil Rights Legislation and Southern Politics, for instance, lists 26 items. Among the 18 useful appendixes are lists of women, black, and Hispanic members of Congress, major party convention sites and dates, chairs of the national committees of both major parties, election commissioners, and current party headquarters with addresses and telephone numbers. A detailed index concludes the two-volume work. To cover a 200-year span inevitably leads to omissions, as Maisel readily admits. While no glaring oversights are apparent, a few quibbles are in order. Most House and Senate leaders (as listed in appendix 4) are sketched, but a few (e.g., J. Percy Priest, Leverett Saltonstahl, Ted Stevens) are not. The rationale for inclusion and exclusion is not clear. Strangely, the Democratic, Republican, and Whig parties are not main entries, although many of their constituent structures are, as is Formation of the Republican Party. The facts surrounding all presidential campaigns and elections are treated in more detail in CQ's Guide to United States Elections (2d ed., 1985) and its 1990 supplement, The People Speak. The three-volume Encyclopedia of American Political History covers party histories in greater depth. The Encyclopedia of Third Parties in the United States [RBB N 1 91] treats more third parties than are covered here. Where this new encyclopedia shines is in its depictions of rather obscure figures in our political history and its cogent expositions of major concepts of modern-day politics. The index permits the reader to easily trace ideas and personages having no main entry. The work's tone is consistently objective and accessible to the reader. A vital facet of a country's history--its major political milestones--is not always best treated in an encyclopedia format; a linear format is more congenial. Political Parties & Elections in the United States should nevertheless be of particular interest and value in all academic reference collections; large public libraries will want to consider it, too. (Reviewed Nov. 15, 1991)

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

This is a ready-reference tool meant to provide students, scholars, and librarians with a single, convenient, and authoritative source of information on and analysis of the major topics and individuals in American political history, current through the Bush administration. There are over 1000 brief articles and 50 focused essays by established scholars and experts. Each entry contains at least one bibliographical reference; there is generous indexing and cross-referencing throughout. The unique contribution of this work is its one-stop approach; most of this information is available in a variety of other standard sources, including conventional encyclopedias. Those who spend a great deal of time consulting numerous works to gather data on elections, offices, parties, and political players, however, will find this encyclopedia to be convenient, reliable, and something of a bargain at the offering price. See also Earl R. Kruschke's Encyclopedia of Third Parties in the United States, reviewed in this issue, p. 86.--Ed.-- Susan E. Parker, Harvard Law Sch. Lib. (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.