- Hardcover: 783 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (October 27, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521415799
- ISBN-13: 978-0521415798
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 2.1 x 9.5 inches
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The Cambridge Gazetteer of the USA and Canada: A Dictionary of Places Hardcover – October 27, 1995
From Library Journal
Hobson (editor, Remembering America: A Sampler of the WPA American Guide Series, LJ 5/1/85) has edited an encyclopedic dictionary listing over 12,000 entries for places in the United States and Canada. The entries include municipalities (most with populations greater than 10,000); states; counties; geographical features such as rivers and mountains; notable neighborhoods such as the Ironbound in Newark, New Jersey; regional names such as the Pine Barrens in New Jersey; a few legendary places such as Dogpatch; and definitions of about 170 geographical terms. Each entry defines the place without offering pronunciation, gives size in population or physical extent and location but not coordinates, and includes a brief description that may include history, tourist attractions, and industries. A 24-page color map section was not available for review. The population data for the United States were obtained from the 1990 census, and because for some states only census-designated places are included-not census-designated minor civil divisions-some incorporated municipalities with populations greater that 10,000 are omitted. This greatly restricts the usefulness of the book. Better choices include Chambers World Gazetteer (Cambridge Univ. Pr., 1988), Webster's New Geographical Dictionary (1988), and The National Gazetteer of the United States of America (U.S. Government Printing Office, 1990).
Ann Babits Grice, East Brunswick P.L., N.J.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The launching of a new gazetteer is always an occasion for celebration among reference librarians, especially if it is a quality product that incorporates up-to-date statistical information. Earlier generations of reference providers were heavily dependent on the renowned Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer of the World, which was last revised in 1962. Since its last appearance, a number of other gazetteers have been published. These include the Chambers World Gazetteer (5th ed., 1988, also published as the Cambridge World Gazetteer), George Kurian's Geo-Data (1983), and the 11-volume Omni Gazetteer of the United States (Omnigraphics, 1991). None of these have become household words in libraries for a variety of reasons.
The Cambridge Gazetteer of the United States and Canada is an entirely new work that aims to provide extensive information on places. Included are all states, provinces, and territories; their capitals; and all incorporated municipalities with a population of more than 10,000 in the U.S. and more than 8,000 in Canada. What makes this gazetteer uniquely valuable, however, are the entries for current and historic neighborhoods and other features of major cities, such as thoroughfares and parks, landmark buildings, regional names, active and historic military sites, industrial sites, national forests, and legendary sites. Thus, in addition to entries for Kentucky and Louisville, there are entries for South End, a Boston neighborhood; the Magnificent Mile, a portion of Michigan Avenue in Chicago; the Astrodome, a multipurpose stadium in Houston; and the Presidio, a former military base in San Francisco.
Each entry gives the name of the place; defines it as a city, region, street, etc.; gives its size in population and/or area; and notes its location relative to some other place (not by latitude and longitude). The remainder of the entry is designed to answer two basic reference questions--what is the essence of the place and why is it of enough interest to merit inclusion? Sources used in preparing the book range from the 1990 U.S. and 1991 Canadian censuses to newspapers and handbooks. Measures are given in English and metric figures. Cross-references are numerous and are identified by the use of all small capitals or are listed in bold print at the end of entries. Twenty-two color maps follow the text.
A major weakness when compared with the Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer is the absence of pronunciation. There is also a tendency toward generalized rather than specific comments in entries, i.e., "among the largest" and "one of the earliest" are used rather than "largest," "oldest," etc. However, the inclusion of such a wide variety of places, from streets and ballparks to battlefields and forests, makes this a valuable work that will be welcome in all reference departments.
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