Review by Choice Review
Dixon-Kennedy's book provides English speakers for the first time with an extensive alphabetical listing of the folk beliefs, legends, myths, and personages of the various peoples inhabiting Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Although most entries relate to Russian and Slavic culture, a fair amount of space is devoted to such peoples as the Armenians, Latvians, and Lithuanians, as well as to various ethnic groups of Siberia, the Volga region, or the Russian North, such as the Mari, Tungus (Evenki), Koryak, and others. Introductory data about each nationality can also be found among the entries. The headword for each entry is followed by an identification of its national origin and by any alternate spellings or synonymous designations. Most entries are cross-referenced, making it simple to assemble all the relevant information on a particular topic. Written in a clear, inviting style, the alphabetical portion of the encyclopedia is supplemented by a topical index, a general index, and a short glossary of special cultural terms. This useful and handsome volume deserves a place in any library and will prove of particular value to anyone interested in pre-Christian Slavic culture. E. J. Vajda; Western Washington University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
These are formidable one-man compilations, with the flaws inherent in such compilations but with some genuine virtues as well. Dixon-Kennedy is the author of several other books on similar topics, including European Myth and Legend: An A^-Z of People and Places [RBB Ja 1 & 15 98]. Both of these new volumes are in dictionary format. Mythological, legendary, and historical characters get entries ranging from a few lines to several double-columned pages. The ethnic or national origin of each entry is noted, whether Greek or Roman or Greco-Roman, Russian, Slavic, or Tatar. Entry headwords include variant spellings, and see also references guide the reader to related entries. The Greco-Roman volume has more than 1,400 entries and also includes a brief essay on Greek civilization, a bibliography, a chronology, and a list of Roman emperors. It has many entries not found elsewhere (e.g., Bellatrix, Vegoia). A unique feature is its inclusion of astronomical information about constellations representing mythological figures. Appended to the 900 or so entries in the Russian and Slavic volume are a very brief glossary, a table of transliteration from Cyrillic to Latin letters, a list of Russian rulers, and a topic finder, in addition to a bibliography. The essay on Baba Yaga is longer and more informative than any of those in general folklore dictionaries. There are some omissions, such as a lack of an entry in the Russian and Slavic volume for Alexander Nevsky, who is both a legend and a real man and is discussed within other entries. In both volumes, birth and death dates are provided inconsistently for historical figures. The Greco-Roman volume could have used a map of the Greco-Roman world. Although it may not be a first choice for smaller libraries because of its lack of illustrations, maps, and genealogical charts, the Greco-Roman volume will complement the numerous similar works found in larger public and academic library reference collection. The Russian and Slavic volume should find a wider audience, since there is no comparable reference work.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-An accessible overview of the people, places, stories, and events featured in this body of literature. The more than 900 alphabetically arranged entries range in length from a paragraph to several pages. Dixon-Kennedy emphasizes legend and myth over folk and fairy tales. As a result, the witch Baba-Yaga has a sizable entry, but a collector of folklore such as Aleksandr Afanasev is not included. The writing is clear and the author's expertise is obvious. A map of Eastern Europe and Asia appears at the beginning of the book and average-quality black-and-white photographs and reproductions are scattered throughout. A useful "Topic Finder" that groups the articles into broad categories and a good index conclude the volume. Libraries that boast strong folklore collections will find this encyclopedia valuable.-Denise Anton Wright, Alliance Library System, Bloomington, IL (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.