Review by Choice Review
Sandford's exciting new publication provides considerably broader coverage than traditional German reference works such as Oxford Companion to German Literature (CH, Oct'76; 2nd ed., 1986; 3rd ed., CH,Feb'98). It includes articles on German contributions in fields as disparate as architecture, cultural policy and institutions, the economy, education, film, language and national identity, performing arts, politics, religion, the visual arts, and many other fields in contemporary German studies, as well as the expected coverage of literature and literary figures. Its articles consist of a judicious mix of biographical and topical entries, and there is special emphasis on important figures and subjects relating to Austria and Switzerland. The entries themselves are well written and authoritative, though occasionally somewhat telegraphic. The long and impressive list of contributors contains many well-known names in contemporary German studies. The sturdy binding will withstand years of intensive use, and the book is handsomely printed, although its page layout features a surprising amount of white space. Despite its intimidating price, this is an excellent source for any library that provides current information on a broad range of social science and humanities subjects relative to the German-speaking countries. J. H. Spohrer; University of California, Berkeley
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
These one-volume, alphabetically arranged encyclopedias present information current through 1998. They follow the publisher's Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture [RBB S 15 98]. Encyclopedia of Contemporary German Culture has 1,144 entries that "[reflect] the broadening of perspectives and approaches in German Studies that has occurred in the English-speaking world in recent years." The editorial staff is university based as are the 159 contributors, identified in the introduction as "specialist[s] in the field concerned." The articles are signed. Examining the years since 1945, the aim of the encyclopedia is "to give coverage to areas of `high' or `canonical' culture, and at the same time to extend the purview to `popular' culture." Emphasis is greater for broad movements, large social institutions, and mass phenomena than for individuals or events of lesser impact. For example, actors, directors, and writers receive less in-depth treatment than politicians or major literary movements. Lengthy articles (up to 2,000 words) are reserved for such topics as Architecture and Holocaust. The introduction states clearly that where literary figures are concerned, entries are generally kept brief, listing essential biographical data and a few lines characterizing work and significance. Most articles have useful and well-coordinated cross-references embedded and appended. Other navigational tools include the index and an extensive list of headwords grouped by area, located at the beginning of the volume. Most articles are followed by lists for further reading, generally of English-language works, though works in German are noted as well. Coverage is thorough, especially in the political and arts arenas. Similar in structure and treatment, Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Culture has 750 entries. It "reflects the expansion of interest in Spanish culture which has been a feature not only of academic life but of the general public arena during the last quarter of the twentieth century." Coverage begins with the end of the civil war in 1939 (with emphasis on the post-Franco period) and encompasses the Catalan, Galician, and Basque languages and cultures. Though there are fewer individual topics here than in the German volume, entries tend to be longer. Examples of headwords--Banderas, Antonio; Church finances; Civil rights; Fast food outlets; Guggenheim Museum; Marriage and divorce; Picasso, Pablo; and Student protestdemonstrate the volume's range. These encyclopedias are factually correct, balanced presentations that give clear, if somewhat dry, pictures of current German and Spanish culture. Their breadth allows for cross-disciplinary applicability. These thorough overviews will be of interest to college and university students in such diverse areas as political science, religion, and the arts.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
This user-friendly encyclopedia on German culture is part of Routledges Encyclopedias of Contemporary Culture series (following Encyclopedia of Contemporary French Culture, LJ 10/1/98). Resourceful and well balanced, it was compiled by some 159 scholars, who contributed more than 1000 informative and impartial entries. Contemporary is defined as postWorld War II, and culture pertains to topics ranging from history, economy, and politics to art, literature, religion, sports, and more. German relates not only to Germany but to all German-speaking countries and to influential individuals who have helped define or re-define German culture and thought. Consequently, the book includes entries on writers like Ingeborg Bachman, Elias Canetti, and Max Frisch, cultural theorist Georg Lukcs, and even actor Arnold Schwartzenegger. This accessible reference source will appeal to both the lay reader with no knowledge of German language or culture and the scholar who demands extensive research tools. Moreover, it provides helpful links to further reading with copious cross references. It deserves a place on the shelves of all public and academic libraries.Mirela Roncevic, Library Journal (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.