Stephen L. Percussionists: A Biographical Dictionary.
Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2000. 464 pp. Advisory editor:
John Gillespie. ISBN 0-313-29627-8, $95.00.
a percussionist and music professor at the University of Wyoming,
is to be congratulated for his research and compilation efforts
in this single volume that describes the careers of about
500 performers, ranging from Keiko Abe to Oliver Zinsmeister.
There is an enjoyable photo section in the book’s middle,
including Haskell Harr at the xylophone and other well-known
percussionists like Bobby Christian, Morris Goldenberg, and
book’s strength is a mountain of information well organized
and easily readable. A typical subject entry on Red Norvo,
a very successful vibist, includes not only text but also
a selected discography, videography, and bibliography. The
book includes a general bibliography and an index.
very fine book is multiethnic in its coverage. Although its
intended emphasis is on percussion performers, many excellent
teachers are part of the book’s scope, such as William G.
Street and John H. Beck. This reference source is highly recommended
for academic and specialized library collections and interested
Civil Rights Movement. Hackensack, N.J.: Salem Press,
2000. 2 vols. 781 pp. ISBN 0-89356-169-X, $95.00.
Waldo, Jr. and Sullivan, Patricia. Civil Rights in the
United States. New York: Macmillan/Gale, 2000. 2 vols.
891 pp. ISBN 0-02-864765-3, $225.00.
two reference works cover much of the same territory, but
there are several major differences between them. As the publisher’s
note in The Civil Rights Movement explains, "The overwhelming
majority of essays in this set are taken from Salem’s new
reference work, Racial and Ethnic Relations in America.
The rest have been adapted from other Salem works, such as
American Justice and Great Lives from History: American
Series." A comparison of the two sets does show a word-for-word
"adaptation" of the older work for the selected articles.
What’s even more revealing is that the copyright page of Racial
and Ethnic Relations in America states that it is primarily
drawn from several other Salem Press publications. This type
of "recycling" has become a serious problem in reference publishing;
libraries end up buying essentially the same content over
and over, and Salem is not the only offender.
those looking to acquire a narrowly focused book on the topic,
however, the content of The Civil Rights Movement is
quite good. Because "African-Americans were the driving force
behind the Civil Rights movement," most of the articles cover
the events and background relating to the struggle by blacks
in the era from the end of World War II through the Civil
Rights and Voting Rights acts and the assassination of Martin
Luther King, Jr. (the period most people regard as the height
of the movement). However, there are many articles relating
to the era of slavery that give important context to the civil
rights struggle, and there are articles on later events such
as the Rodney King incident and the Ebonics controversy.
civil rights movement was led (and opposed) by some of the
most memorable people in American history, but there are only
three biographies—on Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and
Thurgood Marshall—in the main part of the set. Others are
given brief notices in an appendix. Longer articles have a
mini-bibliographic essay, and there is a lengthy, comprehensive
bibliography at the end of the second volume. Appendices also
include a time line, the U.S. Constitution, and an index.
Civil Rights in the United States set takes a much
broader view of the subject but does not provide as much historical
depth—the historical period considered is exclusively post–Civil
War. The impetus for the encyclopedia came out of a series
of National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes
at the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute on Teaching the History
of the Civil Rights Movement. The articles cover many groups
and subjects not covered in the Salem set, such as the disabled,
elderly, women, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Latinos,
immigrants, and gays and lesbians.
authors have included biographical sketches on the major figures
of the movement. There are brief bibliographies at the end
of each of the articles. In general, the quality and currency
of the content is outstanding.
articles in both sets are written primarily by academics.
If a choice must be made, Civil Rights in the United States,
which uses a larger format, has more pages, and contains all
original work, is the better set.