Probably the best encyclopedic treatment of country music since The Encyclopedia of Country Music (LJ 11/15/98), which was sponsored by the Country Music Association, this work provides a crash course on this genre from its embryonic stage in the 1920s (as an out-growth of folk music) up to and including what often passes for country music today (unremarkable musical pap, which has alienated many in the music's traditional fan base). To his credit, Wolff does not editorialize to such an extent that he jeopardizes the credibility of this work as a reference tool, although his sympathies seem to lie with the traditionalist camp. The "Rough Guide" imprimatur has generally come to mean "quality" as well as "iconoclasm," and this is no exception. Through 14 chapters, Wolff weaves a rich historical tapestry encompassing all of the genre's important niches (Western, bluegrass, honky-tonk, rockabilly, etc.). Solid, informative essays on each area lead into bios of varying lengths on its key personalities as well as (a pleasant surprise) many of the more colorful albeit minor artists who usually get passed by in this type of work. Selected CD/album critiques also appear at the end of many entries, and the text is dotted with numerous album covers and black-and-white pictures of artists. Libraries already owning the Encyclopedia of Country Music should consider getting this title as a complement. It will serve admirably as both a reference tool and a general reading title in most collections. Highly recommended.--David M. Turkalo, Suffolk Univ. Law Sch. Lib., Boston Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.