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Encyclopedia of American history /

Other Authors: Nash, Gary B.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: New York : Facts on File, 2003
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Review by Choice Review

Facts on File's significant addition to historical literature offers a different twist to the encyclopedia format: unlike other sets, EAH is arranged chronologically rather than alphabetically. The time periods follow the structure created in National Standards for United States History (rev. ed., 1996.). Volume 1 covers prehistory through the founding of Jamestown (1607); the second volume runs from 1608 to 1760. The remaining eight volumes cover ten- to fifty-year time spans apiece, while volume 11 serves as the set's index. Entries include key people, places, events, documents, and significant concepts in American history and range in length from a single paragraph to several pages. Longer essays on African Americans, agriculture, business, economy, education, family life, foreign policy, immigration, labor, Native Americans, politics, population, religion, urbanization, and women appear in each volume and collectively make up small histories of these significant topics. All entries are written by subject specialists and contain bibliographies of monographs, articles, and Web sites. Each volume opens with a well-written introduction framing the book's time period and includes maps, illustrations, a chronology, a collection of important documents, and a detailed bibliography. Volume 11's subject index also covers illustrations, maps, and chronology entries.EAH is carefully thought out and executed, and compares favorably with but does not replace Dictionary of American History (1976; 3rd ed., 2002, CH forthcoming). Volume 1's expansive coverage of American prehistory, exploration, and colonization through 1607 spans America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, giving a fuller, deeper consideration of the forces shaping the settlement of the New World. Of course, any work so large in scope has minor problems. Actor and activist Paul Robeson has entries in volumes eight and nine written by different authors but covering the same aspects of his life. In the area of popular music, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, and Frank Sinatra have separate entries but not Louis Armstrong or Bing Crosby. It will be no surprise that Dictionary of American History and EAH overlap on many topics, and DAH covers topics ignored by the new set--e.g., "Assembly, Right to," "Coast and Geodetic Survey," "The Federal Register"--but the two complement one other nicely. Summing Up: Essential. All academic, secondary school, and public libraries. S. L. Hupp West Virginia University at Parkersburg

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

For 60 years the Dictionary of American History(DAH) has been the unrivaled source of choice for information about the history of the U.S. from its precolonial days on. Today it has an apparent rival in the Encyclopedia of American History (EAH). An approach by era, secondary in the alphabetically-arranged DAH, forms the foundation of the EAH. Each volume reflects one of the eras in The National Standards for United States History, Revised Edition, used to organize the history curriculum. Thus, the set's applicability as a complement to classroom instruction is self-evident. Each volume, organized A-Z,covers in approximately 3,500 entries the key events, people, and trends that gave an era its distinctions and that influenced the eras to come. The first volume, treating "Beginnings to 1607," provides rich context for the era of voyages of discovery. It depicts the Europe emerging from feudalism and religious wars, energized by science and curiosity and motivated by trade, as well as the cultures of the native peoples of the Americas, ill-prepared for their clash with outsiders. So it is that an encyclopedia of American history accommodates articles on Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci as well as Columbus and Elizabeth I. The back-of-the-book chronology (a feature of every volume) gives this context temporal structure. Every volume also includes transcriptions of primary documents (more selectively than the DAH) and a volume-specific index. Befitting a reference tool designed to strengthen the high-school curriculum, EAH includes maps and other illustrations. Because it, unlike DAH, has biographical entries, many of the illustrations are portraits. The potential drawback of the organization by era is fragmentation of broad topics such as education, religion, literature, race, and labor. These and others receive their due through an era-specific article in each volume (with the usual exception of the scene-setting volume 1). Information about specific topics treated in a dedicated article in just one volume (e.g., Ford Motor Corporation, Lewis and Clark expedition, Harvard College, Haymarket riot) may appear in other volumes as well. As in the DAH, entries in the set's comprehensive index knit these disparate discussions together. Also as in DAH, EAH's signed articles conclude with bibliographic references. If they can have but one American history encyclopedia, libraries should consider their clientele's needs. AHigh-school libraries should go with EAH, and their librarians should capitalize on its value as a tool designed to support the curriculum. Public libraries need to consider whether users are most likely to be high-school students (in which case EAH) or college students and college-educated adults (in which case DAH). RBB.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

A significant revision of the first edition published in 2003 (LJ 3/1/03), this 11-volume work contains many new and revised entries, especially covering events since 1969. Editor Nash (history, Univ. of California, Los Angeles) helped create the National Standards for United States History-which received both high praise and strong criticism-and this multivolume work incorporates its multicultural approach to the history of the United States. The entries vary in length from a few paragraphs to several pages. The volumes are arranged in chronological order, and each entry contains a bibliography and cross-references. Color maps and black-and-white illustrations are interspersed throughout the text. Each volume has its own index and a documents section; there's also a comprehensive index. While the editors of the individual volumes are academics and historians, many entries are written by contributors whose backgrounds are not described. Aimed at precollege, college, "parents of young learners in the schools," and general readers, this encyclopedia provides much useful historical information. Bottom Line The chronological arrangement-which requires constant use of the indexes-may deter readers interested in concise topical essays. Of more concern is the exorbitant price tag when library budgets are so tight. Recommended only for major metropolitan libraries that don't own the earlier edition or Dictionary of American History.-Donald Altschiller, Boston Univ. Libs. (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.
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-This impressive, authoritative reference work covers topics spanning a period from approximately 11,000 B.C.E. through December 2001. Each volume has a separate editor (there is a general editor for the set) and most of the essays are signed. The volumes are organized chronologically, but the entries within each volume are alphabetical. Each book begins with a contents list, and there are copious see and cross-references. Essays of varying length cover events; "major categories of the American experience" (education, urbanization, etc.); people, places, concepts, and more. At the end of each entry, one or more suggestions for further reading (generally adult titles) are offered. Unfortunately, the volumes are sparsely illustrated with average-quality, black-and-gray photographs, drawings, and maps. In a resource that attempts to be as comprehensive as this one, more visuals, especially maps, are mandatory. Each book concludes with a volume-specific chronology, bibliography, and index. A separate index volume provides comprehensive access to the set. One of the best features of this resource are the "Document" sections that provide the full text of key portions of significant historical papers. This encyclopedia is a valuable resource for students of American history and can be used to support any classroom text, offering students ample opportunity for fuller exploration of topics of interest. That the encyclopedia "follows the architecture of The National Standards for United States History" is an additional point in its favor. While the volumes are not particularly attractive, the depth of content on many of the topics far exceeds that found in any general encyclopedia and many specialized resources.-Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City (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.