Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Encyclopedia of Populism in America: A Historical Encyclopedia

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

Encyclopedia of Populism in America: A Historical Encyclopedia

Article excerpt

Encyclopedia of Populism in America: A Historical Encyclopedia. Ed. By Alexandra Kindell and Elizabeth S. Demers. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2014. 2 vols. acid free $189 (ISBN: 978-1-59884-567-9). E-book available (978-1-59884-568-6), call for pricing.

The Encyclopedia of Populism in America fills a significant gap in the reference literature. Considering America's current political climate where Populist ideas percolate through both sides of the political spectrum, it arrives at an opportune time. Just as Populism as a political movement grew from the discontent of America's small farmers in the nineteenth century against corporations, banks, railroads, and other big monied interests, we continue to see Populist ideas emerge to confront these same interests in contemporary political movements ranging from "Occupy Wall Street" to the "Tea Party."

What makes this work so valuable is how its 330 plus entries illustrate how deeply interwoven the ideas and concepts of Populism are throughout the culture of the United States. For example, the entry "Baseball and Populism" reveals how baseball reemerged in popularity in rural America in the mid-1880s right at the height of Populism's fight against distant banking and corporate interest. Baseball, in the minds of the farmers, succeeded only with "Populist principles like cooperation, modern organization, and rational rules of fair play" (70), principles not believed to be adhered to by the banking and corporate interests.

Searches of OCLC's WorldCat database fail to uncover a similar reference work fully devoted to this topic. …

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