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From counter clerk to VP of New York City shop Murray's Cheese, Thorpe has spent years talking with customers, farmers, cheese makers, and chefs. That experience is evident in the engaging conversational style of her new book. Instead of compiling an encyclopedic guide such as her earlier (coauthored) The Murray's Cheese Handbook, Thorpe focuses on her favorite American cheeses and their producers. Occasionally repetitive and meandering, the relaxed writing demonstrates a passion for cheese that is accessible, not overwhelming. Thorpe is egalitarian, including larger factory and smaller artisan producers among the spotlighted cheese makers in each chapter and offering mild criticism of their lesser products if warranted. She remains relatable throughout, describing flavors and aromas in ways that most readers will grasp, using such terms and adjectives as wet socks (to capture a cheese's particular pungency), lemon, or butterscotch. VERDICT The text is not strictly organized according to history, region, or cheese type; however, its overall scope, humor, and affection will both entertain and educate its audience. Recommended for foodies, especially those with a passion for cheese.—Peter Hepburn, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago Lib.