In this unique resource, anthropologist Levinson, editor-in-chief of the noteworthy Encyclopedia of World Cultures (LJ 3/15/91), and journalist Christensen seek to provide a basic understanding of major global issues. About 400 terms derived from eight preselected "globally significant" topics (governance, science and health, communication, the environment, women's role and status, conflict and peace, human rights, and trade and commerce) are covered. Alphabetical, cross-referenced entries ranging in length from a paragraph to four pages define the terms and explain their history and importance. Lacking any scholarly pretensions, this book is fine as far as it goes, but the serious student of world affairs will find its perfunctory approach only superficially appealing. Though the work is conceptually interesting, its sweeping eclecticism (including entries such as "Proposition 187," "Road Warriors," and "Second Shift") detracts from its intended global focus. Bibliographic references seem dated, and the appendixes contain information easily found elsewhere. Good for a quick fix or a rudimentary introduction for general readers, this book is not essential for all collections.David Ettinger, George Washington Univ., Washington, D.C.
Gr 9 UpA good resource featuring 400 one-to-two page entries that provide definitions and explanations of ideas, events, organizations, and terms that have global significance. There is at least one odd flaw. In the article on Islam, the term "jihad" is described as one of the duties of a Muslim: "Whenever a Muslim protects the faith, overcomes nonbelievers, or purifies the actions of a nonbeliever, he has performed jihad....Although serving as a soldier of Islam is one way to fulfill the jihad duties, there are many other ways for a Muslim to preserve and establish order in Islamic society." Yet in the same book, the brief entry on Jihad presents a more limited and militaristic definition: "An Arabic word that translated literally means `holy war' and refers to the obligation Muslims have to protect Islam from non-Muslims." In spite of that inconsistency, the volume is informative on a variety of subjects. Not bogged down by jargon or political doublespeak, it is clearly written and easy to read. However, the lack of illustrations may intimidate some students. A "Topic Finder" is included (look up a broad topic like immigration and find helpful see-also entries, or subtopics: asylum, au pair, diaspora, migrant worker, squatter settlements, etc.). Four appendixes offer a chronology of major historical events from 1945 to 1995 and a selection of important international documents, such as the Charter of the United Nations and a nuclear weapons treaty. These additions and the extensive index make this title especially useful for research projects and reference questions.Herman Sutter, Saint Pius X High School, Houston, TX
Over 400 entries discuss some of the more popular terms being tossed
around in connection with the globalization of communications and
economics. Among them are capitalism, female infanticide, the
International Monetary Fund, missionary, Pacific Rim, subsidies, and
waste management. In this global village there will be no labor
unions. Also includes a list of nations and colonies, a conversion
table for units of measure, a chronology from 1945 to 1995,
international documents, and world maps.
Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.