Review by Choice Review
In its day, Philip Wiener's original DHI (CH, Oct'73) was a classic of intellectual history. New DHI, a completely new reference tool that covers recent developments and places greater emphasis on multicultural topics, has the potential to be a classic in its own right. Volume 1 opens with a list of articles, a preface, an extensive article, "Historiography," and a "Reader's Guide" to the set (reprinted in the other volumes). Volume 6 concludes with a roster of contributors and an extensive alphabetical index. The articles, alphabetically arranged, cover topics as different as Aristotelianism, Zen, and Aztlan. Articles are well written, accompanied by cross-references and bibliographies, and some have sidebars enlarging on individual entries (e.g., one covers the recent Lord of the Rings films). Many entries have black-and-white illustrations, and a few are accompanied by tables. Topics not given main entries (e.g., creation science) can usually be found through the index. The "Reader's Guide" deserves special mention; it has divisions for "Communication of Ideas," "Geographical Areas," "Chronological Periods," and "Liberal Arts Disciplines and Professions." The latter reflects university divisions of subjects, and includes interdisciplinary programs such as women's studies, which is listed as a social science. This set's impressive depth is illustrated by entries like "Text/Textuality" next to "Textiles and Fiber Arts" as "Catalysts for Ideas." ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Academic and research libraries. T. M. Izbicki Johns Hopkins University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
This long-awaited update to the original Dictionary of the History of Ideas0 (see p.1700 for an excerpted version of our review, which was published October 1, 1974) is "designed to introduce a general audience to the main ideas and movements of global cultural history from antiquity to the twenty-first century." This is an entirely new work rather than a mere revision, featuring more than twice as many articles as the original (well over 700 as compared to just over 300) as well as a more definite global view of the topics covered when compared to the Eurocentric nature of the older set. There are more than 550 contributors, including such well-known writers as Peter Burke, Nathan Glazer, Arthur Hertzberg, Moshe Idel, Margaret L. King, and Martin E. Marty. Entries include those on the same topics but entirely rewritten from the original ( City, Nationalism,0 Time0 ) along with those that could barely have been thought of in the mid-1970s ( Computer science, Sexual harass0 ment, Visual culture0 ). Just as telling, reflecting the scholarly shift over the past 30 years, are entries that no longer exist, such as Baconianism;0 Faith, hope, and charity;0 and Uniformitarianism and catastrophism.0 Although the original edition was not entirely bereft of illustrations, they were sparse. Not so with this edition: black-and-white illustrations are scattered throughout, most notably in entries such as Architecture, Humanity in the arts, Iconography, 0 and Maps and the ideas they express.0 Each volume opens with a "Reader's Guide" that provides a general outline of the articles in the set, divided into four main sections: "Communication of Ideas," "Geographical Areas," "Chronological Periods," and "Liberal Arts Disciplines and Professions." The detailed "Reader's Guide" is a good companion to the index, which occupies more than 200 pages of volume 6. Main entries in the set are often divided by separately authored subentries; examples include Gender0 (divided into Overview 0 and Gender in the Middle East0 ) and Motif 0 ( Motif in literature0 and Motif in music0 . The longest main entry of the set, the 30-page C ommunication of ideas,0 is divided into seven parts. Articles conclude with up-to-date bibliographies (often divided into primary and secondary sources) and see also0 references. The casual reader will likely miss an entry often referred to in various cross-references: the 54-page essay Historiography,0 which is placed just after the preface in volume 1 rather than in the main alphabetic arrangement. It would have been helpful to mention this placement in the see also0 references. The casual reader may also be caught off guard by the fact that many entries presume that the reader is acquainted with the older edition--or at the very least has some background in the topic. Law,0 for example, begins, "The development of law and jurisprudential ideas since the 1970s" and continues to concentrate on events of the recent past rather than providing the historical concentration seen in the previous edition. The preface affirms that this title "focuses on topics of interest today and features developments in scholarship since 1970." Does this mean libraries must retain the older set? Fortunately, the answer is no. Scribner allowed the first set to be released free of charge online courtesy of a grant authorized by the Journal of the History of Ideas0 for digitization through the University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center. It is accessible at http://www.historyofideas.org. This well-written set will appeal to anyone interested in the topic and is highly recommended for large public and academic libraries. In all, worth the 30-year wait. --Ken Black Copyright 2005 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Selected as a 2005 RUSA outstanding reference source, the new edition of this long-standing favorite aids our understanding of the ideas that make up Western culture. Expanding on the original Dictionary of the History of Ideas (1974), edited by Philip Wiener, the New Dictionary has a broader scope introducing global- and gender-neutral perspectives not present in its Eurocentric predecessor. Academic excellence and scholarship don't keep this six-volume set from interesting the lay reader. The 700 accessible articles present new material, with original entries on feminism and antifeminism, queer theory, and nongender topics like diversity, social capital, and third cinema. Standard subjects, like beauty and love, are treated at length in the earlier set and simply updated in the new version to include late 20th-century ideas and non-Western thought. Each entry explores origin, cultural interpretations, and historical themes. The alphabetical arrangement is not an impediment to cross-disciplinary study, since a reader's guide and full index present material in a topical framework. Bottom Line This delightful foray into humankind's ideas, from abolitionism to Zionism, is a bargain highly recommended as an essential purchase for academic libraries. Public libraries of all sizes would also greatly benefit from its one-stop-shopping approach to the philosophy of ideas.-Kelli Perkins, Herrick Dist. Lib., Holland, MI (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.