Contemporary Literary Criticism

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
It's astonishing how few environmental encyclopedias have been published since the first Earth Day 25 years ago, but even if there were many to choose from, Gale's Environmental Encyclopedia would still be a top choice for most school and public libraries. Vast in scope (its almost 1000 pages offer roughly 3000 entries), this work is readable in terms of both content and layout; the content is balanced and accurate overall. Compiled by nearly 100 contributors, this encyclopedia includes definitions, signed articles, and biographical sketches in roughly equal proportions, with entries ranging from ``Edward Abbey,'' ``biodiversity,'' and ``cigarette smoke'' to ``Zebra mussel,'' ``zero risk,'' and ``zooplankton.'' Entries such as ``ecofeminism'' are not only defined but given a whole page tracing the movement's inception and development, with references listed for further reading. The book includes extensive cross-referencing and indexing, as well as a chronology of the environmental movement and environmental legislation. Many U.S. laws and agencies are explained (no mean feat!). As always, one can quibble with choices of inclusion and exclusion (why is ``asthma'' included but not ``multiple chemical sensitivity''?). In addition, there is some overlap with the Gale Environmental Almanac (LJ 3/15/94), which devotes more space to long essays. Still, these two Gale companion volumes are preferable to William Ashworth's Encyclopedia of Environmental Studies (LJ 7/90), which is not as intensive. Highly recommended for most reference collections. With a more worldwide scope, Europa's Environment Encyclopedia and Directory is complementary to the title reviewed above. There are five sections; 20 maps (covering climate, population, deforestation, and pollution); a glossary that provides brief definitions of 1000 terms (e.g., Bhopal, ozone, salinization); a directory of environmental organizations (3000 government and nongovernment agencies listed by country and including contact names, addresses, phone and FAX numbers, and a brief description of agency activities); an extensive bibliography of nearly 1000 international periodicals (alphabetical by title and not cross-referenced) with contact, content, and frequency information; and a ``Who's Who'' of 600 environmental leaders such as Wangari Maathai (Kenyan environmentalist and woman of the year). More useful than the Gale title above for looking up terms like ``Arctic Treaty,'' ``Basel Convention,'' and international leaders and agencies, the Europa volume is less useful for finding basic terminology such as ``drift nets'' and ``food chain.'' It's worth the high price if a collection needs a current international environmental directory. In the daily business of a typical library, both titles under review are much more useful than Environmental Profiles: A Global Guide to Projects and People (LJ 7/93).-Laura Lipton, Miller Horticulture Lib., Seattle
Booknews
**** This distinguished series, which presents significant excerpts from criticism of the works of contemporary novelists, poets, playwrights, short story writers, scriptwriters, and other creative writers, is cited in Sheehy, BCL3, and Walford, among others. Volume 72 covers a particularly interesting and varied group: Russell Banks, Ingmar Bergman, Heinrich Boll, Philip K. Dick, Eduardo Galeano, Graham Greene, Marilyn Hacker, Susan Howe, Paule Marshall, Paul Muldoon, Raymond Mungo, Thomas Pynchon, Jack Spicer, Bruce Sterling, and Gore Vidal. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Sandy Whiteley
Both public policy topics ("Green Politics", "NIMBY--Not in My Back Yard") and environmental science ("Biomass"; "Thermodynamics, Laws of") are covered here in entries written for the layperson. Arranged from "Abbey, Edward" to "Zooplankton", the 1,200 articles range in length from a paragraph to two pages. The longer entries conclude with bibliographies of scientific and popular literature. Entries appear here for organizations (with addresses), people famous in environmental circles (some of them living), processes ("Composting"), environmental disasters, legislation, economic issues ("Trade in Pollution Permits"), places ("Yellowstone National Park"), environmental health problems ("Minamata Disease"), animals and their relationship to the environment, chemicals, and scientific terms ("Biogeography"). From such practical issues as "Disposable Diapers" and "Off-Road Vehicles" to such technical processes as "Fluidized Bed Combustion", the signed entries cover in nontechnical language every aspect of the broad, interdisciplinary field of environmental studies Black-and-white photographs, charts, and diagrams help explain processes. Internal cross-references, "see" and "see also" references, and a detailed index aid access. Unfortunately, the index has long lists of page numbers under some headings. For example, approximately 100 page references appear under "pesticide". The index would have been more useful if these headings had been subdivided in some way Taken together, Facts On File's "Encyclopedia of Environmental Studies" (1991) and "The Facts On File Dictionary of Environmental Science" (1991) cover the same range of topics, though with briefer entries. Covering subjects as current as the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit, "Environmental Encyclopedia" will be useful in high school, academic, and public libraries.
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