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Hill, the author of several other reference volumes for Omnigraphics, teams up with Daniels, who has written reference works for Greenhaven Press, in this informative and concise work on the many traditions of people living in the United States. The book is organized chronologically into four parts: "Birth and Childhood," "Coming of Age," "Adulthood," and "Death and Mourning." Within each part is an introduction that serves as an overview of the topic, which is followed by four to eight chapters about various life events. Examples of chapter titles include "Commemorating Birth," "Religious Milestones," "Courtship," and "Burials." Each chapter also has its own introduction, and then it covers chronologically two to nine specific customs and traditions as separate entries. Over 100 specific customs and traditions are described. The entries offer alternate names for the tradition; explain its history and significance, observance procedures, and the customs and symbols involved; and point to further reading. Cross-references to similar entries are made in bold type, a feature that allows for easy cross-cultural comparison. The book also contains a comprehensive bibliography and an index.
—Samantha Schmehl Hines