Review by Choice Review
The editors bring both balance and judgment to their task, producing an extremely useful source that offers balanced opinions alongside a wealth of useful information. They include numerous documents illustrating the opinions of American Catholics on topics like the Knights of Labor and racism. The contributors usually maintain the standards set by the editors; only a few entries (e.g., that on General Meagher) slip into outright eulogy. Among the most useful items are those explaining the histories and editorial leanings of various Catholic periodicals, including America (1909- ) and The National Catholic Reporter (1964- ). Occasionally, as with the Polish National Church (found under "Schisms"), the index must be used to locate a topic. Only a few topics are ignored: there is no entry for the Cursillo movement, and despite consideration of issues involving homosexuality, the gay organization Dignity goes unmentioned. The one real defect is the lack of maps showing the expansion of the Catholic population of the US. Room could have been found for maps by sacrificing the necrology of bishops. These blemishes are minor compared with the availability of so vast and useful a volume, which is recommended for all libraries. T. M. Izbicki; Johns Hopkins University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.