Projected to be 15 volumes upon completion in late 2000 (with an index to follow in mid-2001), this ambitious set will be international in scope and span from antiquity to the 20th century. (The first three volumes are reviewed here.) The scope is generally limited to women born before 1926, except for those active in the women's movement or whose place in history is assured. Initially hatched while the editors were working on Historic World Leaders (1994)--which profiled mainly men--this resource will include more than 10,000 entries varying in length from several pages to brief paragraphs. Frequent sidebars give information on women closely associated with the main entry, and numerous See references address name variations. Although indexes by time period, nationality, and subject would greatly enhance its usefulness as a reference, this set far exceeds recent single-volume international dictionaries (the Larousse Dictionary of Women, LJ 1/97, has about 3000 entries) and is unlikely to have any competitors on this scale soon. Recommended for large public and academic libraries and women's studies collections.--Patricia A. Beaber, Coll. of New Jersey, Ewing Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 9 Up-This monumental, decade-in-the-making resource will be a cornerstone for collections supporting historical research of any sort. Digging assiduously through nearly 5000 years of often maddeningly vague records (the introduction on this alone makes prize reading), 300 plus contributors from 20 countries shed light on the lives of more than 10,000 women. That light doesn't always reveal much-"Adah. Biblical woman. First wife of Lamech; children: Jabal and Jubal"-but many entries run up to 10 double-column pages in length, with hundreds more in associated side boxes. All but the briefest articles are signed; all stir quotations and evaluations into systematic factual accounts and conclude with a list of books and other sources. The many black-and-white photos are dark but large, and sometimes expand the narrative intriguingly. Volume I is prefaced by 90 dynastic genealogical charts, and the final volume will contain several indexes. Though the editors admit to less thorough coverage of living writers and others in already well-documented areas, the trade-off will be worth it for any researcher seeking information on, say, all 8 Queen Cleopatras (plus 5 more women of that name), or the 10 Japanese empresses who reigned alone. The first 5 of the projected 15 volumes were published in 1999; the rest will appear periodically through 2000 with the index planned for 2001. An exemplary work.- John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|