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Under the general editorship of Baughman (Literary Masters: F. Scott Fitzgerald) and the late Bruccoli, who wrote and edited over 100 books on American literature, some 300 contributors to this set provide 1200-word summaries and analyses of about 900 characters from American novels, short stories, poems, plays, and musical theater. Such famous characters as Huckleberry Finn and Hester Prynne are included along with such less obvious choices as Mike Hammer and Shane. Most of the clear and straightforward entries are written by academics and target the grades 9 and up demographic. This set will probably be consulted most for its handy summaries rather than for its brief but good analyses.