Gottlieb (Directory of Mail Order Catalogs) has compiled a truly stunning go-to reference with this fully updated edition. Entries are organized alphabetically by nation name and run approximately ten pages in length each. They open with a political map and a sidebar of 17 fundamental nation facts such as official name, ruling party, and population count. Well-crafted, objectively expressed essays are punctuated by helpful subheadings covering everything from energy concerns and international rivalries to urban transport methods and professional dress codes. Tables present comparative data for 14 economic indicators, including GDP and exports, for each year between 2006 and 2010. VERDICT An informative, accessible resource that will prove valuable in general collections.