Review by Choice Review
What bookish child of nine or ten has not doodled family charts of figures from classical myth, dreamily elaborating various alliances, attributes, and adventures? In a bit of publishing serendipity, these two fully realized, but very different, visions of that mythographer's urge have appeared virtually together. The Newmans' Genealogical Chart is the culmination of 40 years' work by a father-son team. Covering 3,675 gods, heroes, and historical figures, this work features 72 double-spread diagrams showing the descendants of various Olympians and other deities. Although other reference sources offer brief genealogical charts (e.g., Pierre Grimal's Dictionary of Classical Mythology, 1986), they imply that each mythological personage descends from a single accepted, canonical parentage. In fact, wide discrepancies may exist in alternate names, regional and temporal variations of stories, or conflicting archaeological evidence. The Newmans' detailed, meticulous charts show only one version of each family tree, but the index provides numerous variants, both citing ancient sources, and a two-page list of abbreviations, set in dense type, demonstrates the depth of ancient and modern works consulted, from Homer and Hesiod to Hermesianax.In contrast, James's Genealogy can be read like a book or unfolded, accordion-style, to an astonishing 17 feet. Her background in theater design is evident in the dramatic presentation, filled with hundreds of illustrations and photographs of ancient art. One side of the chart is dedicated to gods and the other to mortals, but most page openings feature sidebars that elaborate various myths or topics such as the Muses or regional genealogies. Maps, a detailed index, and lists of names (the suitors of Helen, the children of Priam) complete the volume. James (Mount Holyoke College) based her chart on both major ancient sources and modern reference books. Libraries will be hard-pressed to choose between these two works. James will entertain and enlighten almost any user, but its format presents shelving and preservation challenges. The Newmans' chart, though more expensive, should be in any collection supporting research in classical studies. ^BSumming Up: Both, highly recommended. General and academic collections. B. Juhl University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.