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The Chicago Manual of Style 15th Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 224 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321115836
ISBN-10: 0226104036
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Countless publishing professionals have learned the details of their business from this classic guide for publishers, editors and writers. It's updated every 10 years or so, and the 15th edition is the most extensive revision in decades. The Internet's influence is pervasive, with substantial sections on preparing manuscripts for electronic publishing, editing for online publications and citing electronic sources. The "Rights and Permissions" chapter is by attorney William S. Strong (The trace the publication process for books and journals, both print and electronic, from manuscript development to distribution and marketing. For the first time, the manual includes a chapter on grammar and usage, by Bryan A. Garner (A Dictionary of Modern Usage). Gone is the 13-page table showing when to hyphenate compound words of all sorts, but it's replaced by a six-plus-page list and a narrative overview, which will be simpler for the overworked manuscript editor ("copyeditor" has vanished, and the index relegates "copyediting" to a cross-reference to manuscript editing) to use. Traditionalists may be bothered by the new edition's preference for ZIP Code state abbreviations and dropping periods from such abbreviations as Ph.D. and even U.S. Some things do remain the same. The style guide still endorses the serial comma (which PW does not) and numerals are still spelled out from one through one hundred and at the beginning of a sentence. Those in the publishing industry will need this edition, both for what's new and for what they will want to argue about.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The Chicago Manual of Style maintains its vitality by adapting to its ever-changing environment. None of the changes from one edition to the next are capricious; that which remains vital carries over, and that which must change, changes.

From the 1906 first edition's limited focus as "a compilation of typographical rules" for books, it has evolved to provide guidance to authors and editors working in other forms and media such as journals, newsletters, Web sites, and even, with the fifteenth edition, American Sign Language. The editors now "assume throughout that most writers and editors, whether preparing print or nonprint works, use computer software." That assumption is most visible in the chapter dealing with presentation in type of mathematical expressions and formulas. Software has collapsed the division of labor between author and typesetter, giving the author the power to fulfill both roles simultaneously. Mathematicians have faced that special challenge; all scholars have been vexed by uncertainty about citing electronic resources.

Various specialized manuals from other publishers have attempted to codify practices for citing electronic publications, but none has enjoyed the authority Chicago has earned over nearly a century. The fifteenth offers deeper guidance for citing electronic books, articles in e-journals, electronic editions of older works, and online newspapers and magazines. The clear, practical, and easily applied rules for citing these sources recognize the problem an author must solve when a URL is subject to change; they also offer advice on matters such as when to provide the date a cited e-work was accessed. U.S. copyright law, driven by the same technologies the fifteenth edition addresses, has also experienced significant changes. An expanded section on copyright offers clear albeit not exhaustive coverage of the current complexities of copyright. All authors would do well to study this primer.

Chicago's mantra throughout is consistency in support of clarity. Helping authors and editors achieve consistency in practice when creating or editing a manuscript and presenting it to readers is Chicago's raison d'etre. The prescriptive tone of some entries serves consistency, but usage is determined by users of the language. Chicago acknowledges variants in practice, often noting that an author may use a variant even though its entry first describes preferred practice. Bowing to popular influence, the editors concede that they "no longer urge deletion of the d in 2nd or the r in 3rd" and they "now recommend the month-day-year form of dates" prevalent in the U.S. The editors also have the wisdom and the experience to uphold rules that, if ignored, can create confusion in readers' minds. All of the rules and recommendations are easily accessible through the thorough index, a hallmark of every recent edition.

New to the fifteenth is a lively chapter on grammar and usage contributed by Bryan A. Garner, author of Garner's Modern American Usage (2d ed., Oxford, 2003; formerly A Dictionary of Modern American Usage). Its first part reviews basic rules of English grammar, and the second offers succinct explanations of words easily misused (decimate, precondition) or confused (e.g., healthy and healthful; purposely and purposefully). Added features discuss bias-free language and prepositional idioms.

Evolution is never a lockstep uniform process. Although the heart of Chicago embraces changes wrought by digital publishing, its concluding bibliography lags. Only the print editions of general-purpose encyclopedias and several English-language dictionaries are noted. Even though the entry for the Oxford English Dictionary indicates its availability on CD-ROM, it neglects to mention its online incarnation. But one must not miss the forest for these few trees. As it has done again and again, Chicago offers sensible, clearly articulated, and defensible advice to authors and editors who want to do their best to present an author's text to readers. Every library that serves authors, especially those producing scholarly works, simply must have the current edition of chicago. RBB
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


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Product Details

  • Series: Chicago Manual of Style
  • Hardcover: 984 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 15th edition (August 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226104036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321115836
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jonathan E. Bruner on July 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The Chicago Manual of Style has always been a steady companion. It discusses every imaginable style question to the point of exhaustion and speaks with the authority of the nation's largest academic press and the country's most academically serious university. The University of Chicago Press is not burdened by the scholarly dubiousness that plagues the MLA, which happens to publish a competing style guide.
This edition of the Manual of Style includes a number of improvements and additions. The Chicago manual has finally spoken on citing electronic publications, and even includes advice on assembling manuscripts for electronic journals. Flow charts in the back give broad overviews of the publishing process. The index seems easier to use than the index in the last edition, and the chapters are arranged more thoughtfully. Most striking upon first picking up the 15th edition is its stunning graphic design--not only is it beautiful, but it helps readability by highlighting examples and making sections easier to find. The manual includes some information on editing foreign-language publications. As always, the manual includes some very subtle humor in its sentence structure, verbiage, and choice of examples.
The Chicago Manual of Style is also equiped to be an arbiter of many a college dining hall argument on language, with extensive chapters on grammar and usage.
I heartily recommend the Chicago Manual of Style to anyone who ever finds himself with a question on some detail of English style.
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Format: Hardcover
I've been passionate about writing for some time now and situations always seem to arise-where to put the hyphen-that must be dealt with properly. The new edition (15th) of THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE is the Bible for writers (I can't speak for editors or publishers but since this prize solves most writing conundrums, it must work well for those reviewing the written word). As I've used the 14th edition for some time, I was somewhat dubious about giving up my well-oiled saftey blanket. Keep the safety blanket and buy the 15th also. The 15th implements a variety of changes befitting current wisdom; a must in today's literary world. As has been the modus operandi for some time now, the 15th edition of CMS is still in the relatively unattractive orange dust jacket but has been "brightened" inside with two ink tones. Contrary to another reviewer, I find the ink offset to be quite helpful.
One of the more useful additions to the 15th CMS is the paramenters addressed relative to citations from electronic publications. In the internet age, this is a must for technical and non-fiction writers. Additionally and as mandated by most interpretations of copyright law, whenever one draws from another's work, one must provide documentation. CMS follows a basic documentation style for either footnotes or endnotes. This documentation would include direct quotes, paraphrases or someone else's words or ideas, and facts and figures.
As a writer of technical articles, I use this manual as a guide through the morass of style. An article can be poorly written but sparkle with style and grammar. This article will, at the very least, garner some respect. A kick-bum article delving into the meat of a timely subject, yet penned with poor grammar and distasteful style, will be look upon with disdain.
If you're going to write, spend the bucks for CMS. It will be the best investment relative to broad acceptance of your published words.
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Format: Hardcover
Because of the size of the print used in the 15th edition, I could not read the text so I rushed downtown (14 miles one way) and bought a stronger pair of reading spectacles. With the new glasses, I noted strange looking numbers announcing each paragraph. Paragraphs 1.33 and 3.11 looked as though they were set by an inebriated typesetter. The "one" numerals in both paragraphs appeared to be superscripted.
My curiosity led me to the colophon where I learned the manual is set with Scala and Scala Sans fonts. I used my favorite search engine and discovered these fonts were "invented" in 1999. I also discovered numerals 1, 2, and 0 are diminutive and the remainder are mega size and numerals 6 and 8 are superscripted. Mystery solved: The Chicago Press did not have an inebriated type setter.
Even with my more powerful spectacles, I still had trouble reading the text. I used my microscope and measured the capital letters in the 14th edition; they are 0.2 millimeters taller than the Scala capitals. This seems trivial, but it is not (particularly for older writers and editors). More bothersome than the small type size is the bluish type found in chapter 5. At first I thought there were sections of the text missing. All the text within the curly brackets is printed with barely discernable blue ink, which is virtually invisible under certain artificial light conditions. On page 148, note 5, we are told the curly brackets were used to save space. I don't have the Scala on my Mac but I tested several commonly used fonts and discovered words and phrases enclosed in square brackets use less space!
On the plus side Chicago has seen the light and dumped a couple of their old, long-standing edicts that made little or no sense. They now recommend the month-day-year method of recording dates (p.
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