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VOYAThis useful reference compendium has a fairly narrow focus: common inventions from the twentieth century. They are arranged by purpose or function. Wire recorders, tape recorders, and compact tape players are among the inventions grouped under "audio recording." A later section covers compact disks. Some entries discuss the evolution of a single invention, such as the ballpoint pen. Topics range from glues and adhesives to construction toys, vending machines, and dishwashers. Each section begins with a brief overview of the topic and refers to similar topics that the reader might wish to see. The analysis of each invention is thorough and lively, although illustrations are infrequent. The authors bring in the personalities of the inventors, and the circumstances that led to the inventions as well as their effects on society. They also mention the future direction of developments in each area. For example, the discussion of batteries ends with a description of fuel cells as the possible future trend. The science is light, merely touching on the technology involved without attempting detailed analysis. Each section ends with one or more references listing books, Web sites, and articles. At least one section, food containers, listed no references. This book, although narrower in focus than titles such as World of Invention (Gale, 1998), would make an excellent addition to any school or public library needing books on technology and inventions in the modern world. 2003, Greenwood, 285p.; Index. Illus. Photos. Chronology. Bibliography., PLB. Ages 11 to Adult.