Review by Choice Review
Millar describes his impressive, very useful encyclopedia as the "first encyclopedia in the English language to comprehend the entirety of Russian history, from ancient Rus to the most recent events in post-Soviet Russia." Indeed, it ranges in time from Oleg, unifier of the East Slavs, to the ongoing hostilities in Chechnya. It is intended not for specialists but general readers, students, or scholars seeking brief but authoritative information. Some 500 experts contributed 1,500 signed entries, each containing cross-references and bibliographies of English-language print and Internet sources. One of the work's strengths is the assignment of topics to specialists. Volume 1 lists all articles and contributors and has a topical outline of entries, and volume 4 contains a detailed index. Coverage (explained in the preface) includes historical events; documents, declarations, or treaties; military campaigns or battles; the arts, literature, philosophy, or science; economic developments or strategies; ethnic groups; geographical regions; political or territorial units; countries prominent in Russian history; government policies or programs; organizations, movements, or political parties; influential individuals; basic terms or phrases. Entries vary in length from less than one column (GUM department store) to several pages for major topics or individuals (e.g., entries treat Russian relations with specific countries--Czechoslovakia, Great Britain, Poland--but not individuals representing those countries). The detail suffices to put topics in context. The list of articles should be browsed to find, besides obvious keywords and proper names, articles under headings like "Banking System," "Collective Responsibility," "Economic Growth," "Prison Songs," "Taxes," "Trade Routes," and less obvious but reasonable terms such as "October 1993 events" or the referenda of 1991 and 1993. The brief, substantive biographies of recent and current political leaders are noteworthy, even to readers who prefer the Internet for such data. Encyclopedias should provide brief, readable, reliable information like that in The Columbia Encyclopedia or A.W. Palmer's Penguin Dictionary of Modern History (2nd ed., 1983). Millar's encyclopedia has no rival in providing this for Russia, although it cannot be compared with the mammoth The Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet History, ed. by J.L. Wieczynski (1976- , with supplements). An affordable one-volume edition is needed; few individuals will purchase these costly four volumes. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Academic and public libraries. R. Seitz Eastern Illinois University
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review
A scholarly resource accessible to a general audience, the Encyclopedia of Russian History 0 provides more than 1,500 entries encompassing more than 1,000 years of Russian history, from the formation of Kievan Rus in the mid-ninth century to the present-day Russian Federation. A seven-member editorial board of Russian scholars headed by editor-in-chief Millar (Director of the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, George Washington University) oversaw topic selection. All entries are signed by one of more than 500 contributors. Entries are arranged alphabetically. To access them, users can scan the article title list in volume 1 or use the cumulative subject index in volume 4. Bold type in the index designates main entries. Volume 1 also provides a list of article titles arranged by one of 21 general topics, such as "Agriculture," "Government," "Religion," and "Science and Technology." Types of entries include those for people, places, events, and other subjects of historical interest. Entries on individuals include czars (Nicholas I), military leaders (Georgy Zhukov), presidents (Vladimir Putin), writers (Alexander Pushkin), and others (Yelena Bonner, Yuri Gargarin, Anna Pavlova, Grigory Potemkin, Grigory Rasputin). Examples of nonbiographical article titles include Boyar, Great Northern War, Liberal Democratic Party, Motion pictures, Ruble, Space program, Ukraine and Ukrainians0 , and Yalta Conference.0 Entry length ranges from 250 to 5,000 words. Among the longest are Cold War,0 Communist Party of the Soviet Union0 , and October Revolution.0 Each entry offers a list of see also0 references and a bibliography with citations that point to English-language materials, mostly scholarly books. Also included are journal articles and, rarely, Web sites. Some 285 black-and-white photographs accompany the text, and each volume also contains an eight-page section of color plates. For the most part, illustration quality is excellent. However, readers looking for maps, chronologies, and dynastic charts will find only a handful, all of them embedded in entries. With 2,300 entries, the 483-page Encyclopedia of Russian History: From the Christianization of Kiev to the Break-Up of the U.S.S.R. 0 (ABC-CLIO, 1993) is older and lacks the depth of the newer set. As a historical resource to the largest nation on Earth, the Encyclopedia of Russian History 0 is highly recommended for most academic libraries and large public libraries. -- RBB Copyright 2004 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review
Rarely has an encyclopedia come along at such a historical juncture as to make it an imperative of the modern library. Several specialized encyclopedia sets cover facets of Russia or Russian society and culture, but nothing new about Russian history as a whole has been compiled since the early 1990s. This four-volume set satisfies all the criteria for a good encyclopedia: it boasts an experienced editor in chief (Millar has edited numerous works on the Soviet Union and Russia, including Politics, Work, and Daily Life in the USSR and The Social Legacy of Communism); a solid editorial board that includes well-known scholars from around the world; 500 well-qualified contributors, whose credentials are listed separately; 1500 signed articles, which are also listed separately; a topical outline of contents; a comprehensive subject index; a list of abbreviations and acronyms; See Also references; and a bibliography for each article. The intended audience is definitely not specialists but general readers, students, and scholars seeking a framework for further study. The indexing is good but incomplete; to find Nestor Makhno, a White Army commander and bandit of the Crimea, one must look up the civil war of 1917-20. In addition, the entries are not equally well written or informative. While most of the articles, whether addressing Soviet or post-Soviet history, use newly opened archival material sources from the past ten years, some do not: the article on Nicholas II does not draw on recently published books such as Greg King and Penny Wilson's The Fate of the Romanovs, which proves exactly how, when, and where the last tsar and his family were dispatched; according to this source, the article's conclusions are incorrect. Overall, though, this is an impressive work recommended for school, undergraduate academic, and public libraries.-Harry Willems, Southeast Kansas Lib. Syst., Iola (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.