Queer studies does not lend itself to the production of encyclopedias. Its self-definition hinges on its core concept, queerness, which will always be a moving target. Of course, reference works are fixed types, which leads Gerstner (cinema studies, Coll. of Staten Island, CUNY) to declare that any queer reference work is likely to be an inherently "splendid failure." For on-the-ground reference librarians, such distinctions matter little. We need books that help our readers. In that task, Gerstner's work is a success, encompassing gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer life and culture from 1945 to the present. Thematically arranged categories (with A-to-Z entries within each) allow for productive browsing across subjects approached from an international perspective. Entries are individually signed by the similarly international contributors across many disciplines, an array of scholars, journalists, activists, scientists, doctors, and artists, expressing no unified point of view (as is to be expected). There are country surveys and biographical and popular culture entries that are unique; very few entries are accompanied by bibliographies, although those offered are up-to-date. Appendixes list relevant archival repositories, explain international sodomy laws, and list international political and community organizations. Bottom Line This resource compares favorably with Cassell's Queer Companion and Garland's Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures, though, naturally, there is considerable overlap. Two cavils: more bibliographic apparatus would have been useful, especially for some of the more obscure topics, and the book's cost may be prohibitive for many libraries that have an audience for it. Nonetheless, a worthy addition to queer studies collections in large public and all academic libraries.-David S. Azzolina, Univ. of Pennsylvania Libs., Philadelphia Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.