Knaurs grosses Jagdlexikon [Knaur's Great Encyclopedia of Hunting]. Ilse Haseder and Gerhard Stinglwagner. Rev. ed. München: Droemer Knaur, 1996. 983 p. ill. 27 cm. ISBN 3-426-26140-5: DM 198.00
Jagdlexikon [Hunting Encyclopedia]. Ed. Eberhard Schneider and Gerhard Seilmeier. 7th rev. ed. München [et al.]: BLV-Verlag, 1996. 858 p. ill. 23 cm. ISBN 3-405-15131-7: DM 148.00
While the German-language literature of hunting is well covered by individual treatments, only the two works under review can claim to be comprehensive reference works on the subject (along with Fritz Nüsslein's Das praktische Handbuch der Jagdkunde [14th ed., 1996). Both are revised editions of earlier imprints.
The BLV Jagdlexikon provides 6,000 articles with 800 photographs and drawings on the numerous subdisciplines of hunting, all supplied by competent specialists, yielding a broad picture of the whole field. Knaur, by contrast, is a large folio volume and has twice as many entries and illustrations as the BLV work. In general, the entries in Knaur are more self-contained, whereas in the BLV one has to track down information scattered across several entries.
The BLV volume displays much more interest in the biology of wild game and in ecology than does Knaur. Knaur, on the other hand, focuses more classically on the practical aspects of hunting, customs, the history of hunting, its culture and art. Fully seventeen pages are devoted to the evaluation of various hunting trophies and prizes, a topic which the BLV title relegates to an appendix. Only Knaur provides a list of addresses of hunting associations and conservation groups, although the selection is sometimes arbitrary. Both handbooks have lengthy bibliographies, which in the BLV is organized by subject. The Knaur is the more carefully edited work, although its bibliography needs to be brought up to date.
Knaur does not achieve its announced goal of being the most comprehensive universal German-language source of information on hunting precisely because it fails to fully account for modern developments in the fields of biology, ecology, and environmental protection. Today hunting demands in-depth knowledge in these areas. In this the BLV is clearly superior to the Knaur. A convincing, encyclopedic hunting lexicon, one capable both of setting new standards and of continuing the tradition of the massive hunting lexica of the nineteenth century, can only be attained by using these two reference tools in conjunction with each other. [jr/jbr]
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