Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

100 People Who Changed 20th-Century America

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

100 People Who Changed 20th-Century America

Article excerpt

100 People Who Changed 20th-century America. Ed. by Mary Cross. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2013. 2 vols. acid free $173 (ISBN 978-1-61069-085-0). Ebook available (978-0-61069-086-7), call for pricing.

This two-volume set is an accessible and attractive read. The handy timeline at the beginning provides the reader with a better understanding of the world at the time of the subject's contributions. This is especially useful for readers studying figures from before their lifetime who might not comprehend the broader context of the subject's activities.

Entries are notable figures who contributed in some way to society. Many of the persons discussed changed how we live by advancing technology or medicine or by changing the way we think through education and activism. Profiles include some basic biographical information about the subjects' personal lives, such as their upbringing and education, but focus primarily on the activities that changed public life and opinion. Controversy surrounding their work is also discussed. For the most part, the authors do an excellent job of explaining how a subject changed 20th-century America. A few entries however have information about the person's achievements but do not sufficiently explain the transformative nature of those achievements. For example, Jack Nickaus' achievements are well-documented but his lasting impact on golf is not readily apparent from the information provided.

An advantage of this set is that it covers a variety of figures: authors, economists, scientists, politicians, athletes, philosophers, inventors, magnates, artists, and more. …

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