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Larousse Dictionary of World History Paperback – September, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is an expansive dictionary of world history in strict alphabetical arrangement, with brief definitions or explanations of events, individuals, and, to a far lesser degree, movements and concepts. The number of entries is, impressively, 7500, but as a consequence the text for each is starkly concise: Wilson's Fourteen Points are summed up in four sentences without a mention of any specific one. Strangely, there are no entries for any contemporary countries but only the events that took place within them-Canada East is included but not Canada-and without country-oriented starting points, users may find themselves groping through the alphabetical arrangement. Furthermore, given the numerous Asian, Slavic, and other languages represented, it may be difficult to locate the desired term without first knowing how to spell it, as with Khrushchev or Qara-Qoyunlu. See Also references follow many entries, but there are few serving as access points for bewildered browsers, who must discover on their own that the Civil War is under American Civil War. The choice of subjects is occasionally odd, with an entry for Molotov Cocktail but none for Atomic Bomb. While the dictionary does well in worldwide coverage, the spelling and slant are often British; thus, the text for Suffragettes does not refer to the movement in America. Inexplicably, the tables or lists of dynasties, office holders, and rulers are placed after the entry for the first person to acquire the position. As a result, with no index and no entry for Nobel, the only way to find the table of Nobel Peace Prize winners is to look under Jean Henri Dunant, its first recipient. Though it has the advantages of currency, a genuine world focus, and a single-volume format, this is quite a quirky book. However, since other historical dictionaries are subject-specific and the Macmillan Concise Dictionary of World History is now 11 years old, public and academic libraries may wish to consider this for an updated ready reference.
James Moffet, Baldwin P.L., Birmingham, Mich.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Several one-volume dictionaries of world history have appeared in 1994: World History: A Dictionary of Important People, Places, and Events from Ancient Times to the Present [RBB S 1 94], The Hutchinson Dictionary of World History (ABC-Clio), and now The Larousse Dictionary of World History. The latter two works were compiled in Great Britain.

Larousse is based on the extensive computerized database of various Larousse biographical and encyclopedia entries. The editor culled from these sources information from the political, military, and diplomatic sides of world history to create a 7,500-entry encyclopedia. More than 40 contributors from British universities prepared the text, which consists of 50- to 400-word entries in a strict A-Z format. Cross-references are used extensively to direct the reader to related entries. Although the introduction states that the publisher has tried to avoid a Eurocentric bias and give as much coverage to American as British topics, it is difficult to escape the point of view of its contributors. For instance, the entry English Civil Wars is longer than American Civil War. Larousse's strength is biography; it has an entry for Adam Clayton Powell while Hutchinson and World History do not. All entries are current through 1992. More than 30 black-and-white maps supplement the text, as well as 40 boxed panels that list members of dynasties, popes, etc. Unfortunately, there is no means of access to these special features.

Hutchinson contains 5,000 entries, detailed histories of all countries, and a chronology. World History contains 10,000 entries and entries for countries that incorporate chronologies. Neither entries for countries nor a chronology are found in Larousse.

The Larousse Dictionary of World History is clearly written and accessible to junior high and up, but its fewer entries and lack of country entries and historical time lines make it less useful as a ready-reference source than World History. However, all three of these titles have much unique information, and libraries may want to select more than one. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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