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Africa: An Encyclopedia for Students Hardcover – December 6, 2001
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The highly regarded Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara was published by Scribner in 1997. The editor, John Middleton, has now produced an abbreviated version, appropriate for high-school and undergraduate students and adults. The original included 896 articles. This new version has about 450 entries in just under 1,000 pages. Topics include countries, regions, geographic features, cultural groups, personalities, and general subjects, such as Body adornment and clothing, Oral tradition, and Writing systems.
The preface indicates that many of the original articles have been adapted and updated and that a substantial amount of new information has been added on North Africa. In an effort to make the resource user-friendly, time lines, sidebars, and definitions now appear in margins next to related text; and individual country entries include quick reference fact boxes. Each volume has an eight-page color photo-essay: "People and Culture" in the first volume, followed by "The Land and Its History," "Art and Architecture," and "Daily Life" in subsequent volumes. Additional black-and-white photographs and more than 50 maps are also offered.
Despite these enhancements, the work retains a scholarly mien. Although articles range from a few paragraphs to several pages, dense blocks of text with an encyclopedic style of writing may prove daunting to younger researchers. Subjects are covered in depth and include discussions on adult topics such as female circumcision and various cultural attitudes toward homosexuality.
Comparable in scope and level to Willie F. Page's Encyclopedia of African History and Culture [RBB Ja 1 & 15 02], this offering will be more accessible to researchers because of its straight alphabetical arrangement (African History and Culture is arranged chronologically and then alphabetically). Africa: An Encyclopedia for Students should be seriously considered by high-school, undergraduate, and public library collections that do not own the parent set. RBB
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