Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia

Article excerpt

Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia. Ed. by Jeffrey E. Cole. Ethnic Groups of the World. Santa Barbara, Calif.: ABC-CLIO, 2011. 442 pages. Acid free $85 (ISBN 978-1-59884-302-6). Ebook available (978-1-59884-303-3), call for pricing.

The first volume of ABC-CLIO's five-volume series on the world's ethnic groups, Ethnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia contains descriptions of 104 ethnic and national groups in Europe. Adopting an inclusive definition of ethnic group, this work includes indigenous peoples without states (Saami), dispersed minorities (Roma), distinctive regional populations (Bretons), and nationalities (Danes). Excluded are populations not considered ethnically (San Marinians) or linguistically (Bavarians) distinct.

To be included in this work, according to the "Methodology" section, ethnic groups have to have both a historic homeland and a continued presence in Europe, and have a minimum population of 20,000. This latter criterion allows for adherence to publisher guidelines for approximately one hundred entries.

The twelve-page "Introduction" discusses ethnicity, nationalities, and nation-states in the context of Europe, and reviews historic and current trends, including the immigration of non-European populations.

Arranged alphabetically from "Abazin" to "Welsh," the signed entries range from a single page for "Manx" to eight pages for "Russians," with an average of four to five pages. Entries contain "a capsule summary of a group followed by an account of origins and early history, cultural life, and recent developments" (vii). The individual essays are interesting and accessible to the general reader. One learns of the "hard bread" and "soft bread" cultural boundary in Finland and of the nearly 150 liters of alcoholic beverages consumed yearly by the average German. For readers not accustomed to thinking of Georgia and portions of the Russian Caucasus as Europe, this volume will be a useful primer on groups such as the Abkhaz and Ossetians, whose political struggles continue.

Entries conclude with a list of one or more sources for further reading, primarily in English; however, four works listed in the eight-item bibliography for "Slovenians" are in Slovenian. …

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