Most libraries collect historical novels, which are read in enormous numbers by library patrons. Unfortunately, traditional cataloging practice and existing reference sources make subject access to most of this material difficult at best. Hartman and Sapp have taken a giant step toward solving this problem, at least as far as historical figures are concerned. Their book lists 4200 English-language novels published after 1940 in which 1500 historical figures appear as major characters. The body of the book is arranged alphabetically by the name of the historical figure, from Lucille Ball, David Berkowitz, King Arthur, and Moses to Sal Mineo, Sacagewea, and Bruce Springsteen. Each name entry includes the person's dates and a brief biographical description, then lists the novels in which that person is a character. Citations for the novels give author, title, publisher, date, notes about the reading level, awards won, and as many as six reviews. There are intelligent cross references in the body of the bibliography and good indexes by author, title, and occupation. While no work of this kind can be exhaustive, this reference contains a wonderfully comprehensive mixture of historical personages. Recommended for public libraries.-Paul D'Alessandro, Portland P.L., Me.
A bibliography to help librarians identify and make effective use of biographical fiction. It cites 4,200 novels in which 1,500 historical figures appear as significant characters. The books included are English-language juvenile, young adult, and adult books published since 1940 (some pre-1940 titles are included if they have been reissued after that date). Individuals are included of both popular and scholarly interest, living and deceased, from all fields of endeavor. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Two librarians compiled this bibliography of 4,200 novels arranged by the 1,500 historical figures who appear as significant characters. A tag identifies each historical personage (e.g., ""Akhbar", 1542-1605, Mogul emperor"). Novels are then arranged by author under each figure, noting title, publisher, and date. Reviews in any of more than 100 journals are cited for each book. Symbols note books for children or young adults. The typical historical figure only has a few novels listed after his or her name, but Elizabeth I has 50 and Jesus has 86. Some books are listed under more than one name. E. L. Doctorow's "Ragtime", for example, is listed under Emma Goldman, Sigmund Freud, and others. The publication dates of the novels range from 1940 to 1993; more than half the books listed were published before 1970. Indexes by author, title, and occupation conclude the book. The occupation index is often subdivided by nationality or other category, for example, "Artist, Italian"; "Author, American"; "Political Leader, Canadian"; "Religious Figure, Jewish" This is the most comprehensive index to characters in historical fiction available and will be useful to researchers and students. However, because so many of the books listed are old, many public and school libraries will probably continue to rely on less-comprehensive subject guides to fiction, such as "Dickinson's American Historical Fiction" (5th ed., Scarecrow, 1986).