Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

African Americans

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

African Americans

Article excerpt

African Americans. Ed. by Carl L. Bankston III. Great Lives from History. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem, 2011. 5 vols. alkaline $595 (ISBN 978-1-58765-747-4). Online access included with purchase of print.

Dozens of reference books concerning the African American experience have been published in the past several years. Recent titles such as the Encyclopedia of African American History (ABC-Clio, 2010) and Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History (Macmillan, 2006) are good examples of a comprehensive approach to the subject. As well, there are many up to date biographical works that focus on specific subsets of African Americans such as writers, women, or contemporary figures. This set combines the two and takes a comprehensive biographical view of African Americans spanning the earliest days of the United States to the present. It covers more than twenty fields and endeavors, from arts and entertainment to science and women's rights.

The illustrated encyclopedia consists of nearly 850 informative and well-researched essays spanning over 1400 pages. Each entry is broken into four sections, "Early Life," Life's Work," "Significance," and "Further Reading." The consistent format for entries is a useful comparative tool for students to analyze and situate the profiled figures with their contemporaries as well as with those from different eras. The set is bolstered by a half volume of appendices and indexes. …

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