DA -- History and Area Studies

  An RREO Original Review 

DelovoÑ mir Rossii: istoriko-biograficheskii spravochnik [The Business World of Russia: A Historical-biographical Guide]. Ed. M. N. Baryshnikov. Saint Petersburg: "Isskustvo SPB": "Logos," 1998. 445 p. ill. 25 cm. ISBN 5-2100-1503-3: no price

This reference work is largely an historical guide that spans the economics, business, politics, and culture of commerce in pre-Revolutionary Russia. It is also a unique or nearly unique resource: there have been few publications since the demise of the Soviet Union that highlight business and commercial activity during the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. As such, DelovoÑ mir Rossii is a very welcome addition to the existing reference literature on Russian history.

The objective of the author is to illuminate the history of the formation and activities of the "mercantile dynasty" during more than 200 years of Russian history. The main section of this work therefore brings together articles about merchants, entrepreneurs, political figures, and companies, as well as financial and social institutions and organizations. There is also a generous introduction in which the author offers a summary, beginning with the bleak and backward mid-17th century. He then progresses through the years of development of the entrepreneurial and commercial activities and the roles of merchants, gentry, peasants and Cossacks, along with the roles of the state and czars in regulating this activity. The historical summary concludes with the Bolshevik Revolution in October of 1917 and the liquidation of private enterprise in Russia.

The breadth of this introduction also delineates the scope of the encyclopedic entries, that include historical articles on financial and industrial firms, insurance companies, banks, exchanges, markets, social and political unions, business law, political movements, and biographical articles on individual financiers, bankers, successful merchants, et al. This introduction and the entries rely in part upon a list of sources, two of which were commercial-historical sources on Russia also written by the author. Baryshnikov's interest and own competence in this area are clear; however, it is pleasing to see that he has consulted a variety of sources by other authors as well as archival materials. These are included in a bibliography, yet there is no evaluative commentary on the authority of the sources consulted nor of the authority of their respective authors in the introduction to the work.

There are approximately 900 alphabetical entries, ranging from a paragraph to over a page in length. A typical entry, on the Morozov and Sons manufacturing partnership, traces the development of this company from its formation in 1837. By 1847, Morozov and Sons was producing woven fabric and by 1872 it was a fully operational cotton mill. There are statistics provided on the number of spinning and weaving machines owned by the company at the turn of the century, as well as financial data on company capital and dividends. This is information otherwise difficult to obtain. Members of this successful family are mentioned and their positions held within the company described.

An entry in this work that was expected but not found was one on Peter I, or for that matter on any other czars of Russia. Peter and his lineage are included in a name index and are referenced many times throughout the introduction and the articles. It would have been interesting to know the rationale behind their omission as distinct entries in the work.

Russian-speaking students of business law and economic history will appreciate the appendices. One includes excerpts from the code of business law during the Russian Empire. Another appendix is a chart of weights and measures from the early twentieth century, including the exchange rate between the ruble and U.S., German, and British currencies. There is a list of annual holidays for industrial businesses, a list of average salaries of industrial workers at the end of the nineteenth century, and the average prices of provisions such as salt and sugar during this same period. An appendix which might have been useful but is not included is a timeline or chronology.

There are two indices, a name index and a subject index. The arrangement of the subject index is interesting. It comprises several lists, for financial companies and institutions, transportation companies, banks, insurance companies, and social unions of entrepreneurs. These are useful for the scholar who wants lists of institutions sharing similar characteristics. There is no subject indexing for concepts, ideas, terminology or movements. People and institutions are the sole access points in the indices.

There might have been further explanation in the form of a preface on the objectives, compilation, and composition of this source. This fact does not detract, however, from the fact that this is, again, a rare, if not unique reference resource, filling a need left by the suppression of much basic information about capitalist Russia during most of this century.

Jeannette Moss, Northwestern University


Wörterbuch Archäologie [Dictionary of Archaeology]. Andrea Gorys. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, 1997. 528 p. ill. 19 cm. (dtv, 32504) ISBN 3-423-32504-6: DM 29.90

Based on the Kleines Handbuch der Archäologie (München, 1981), the emphasis of this dictionary is on classical antiquity. Focussing on aspects of archaeology relating to the history of the discipline and to methodological questions, it provides an up-to-date supplement to the other standard works in classical studies (Der kleine Pauly, Lexikon der Alten Welt, Lexikon Alte Kulturen), which tend, by contrast, to emphasize persons, subjects, and concepts. Included also are short biographies of important scholars. Organization is by topic (e.g., arches), with location as a subordinate rather than a primary category. Desiderata: more cross-references and bibliographic references. Intended primarily for non-specialists, this is a useful supplement to existing reference works. [jm/sl]


Bibliographie zur Geschichte des Mittelalters [Bibliography of the History of the Middle Ages]. Alfred Heit and Ernst Voltmer. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, 1997. 351 p. 19 cm. (dtv, 33008) ISBN 3-423-33008-2: DM 24.90

This volume's price and the reputation of its publisher will guarantee more buyers than its contents warrant. It can only be characterized as a poor attempt at a selective, introductory bibliography to medieval studies. Too much emphasis is given to library-oriented publications, not enough to those of the discipline itself. The greatest deficiency lies in its failure to list the contents of the large collections of medieval texts, e.g., Monumenta Germaniae historica and Rerum Italicarum scriptores. Users will still need to consult sources such as Dahlmann/Waitz (Quellenkunde der deutschen Geschichte), the online catalog of the library of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica and, for articles, the CD-ROM version of the International Mediaeval Bibliography (not listed in this bibliography). [amr/sl]


Resource Guide to Travel in Sub-Saharan Africa. Louis Taussig. London; Munich [et al.]: Zell. 24 cm. (Resource Guides to Travel)

Vol. 2. Central and Southern Africa (and Western Indian Ocean Islands). 1997. xviii, 468 p. (Resource Guides to Travel, 2) ISBN 1-873836-50-3: £75.00

Volume 1, which covered Eastern and Western Africa, appeared in 1994 and was reviewed in RREO the following year (cf. RREA 1:522 for bibliographic detail). Like the first volume, the second addresses information sources broadly, and not just those of interest to travelers. All titles are critically annotated and those of special merit are noted. New in this volume is travel information on the Internet. It is a pity that the intention to publish titles on the Caribbean and South America in the same series will not be carried out, but the good news is that both Africa volumes are scheduled in due course for updating. [sh/hsb]


Japan-Bibliografie = Bibliography of Japan. Wolfgang Hadamitzky and Marianne Rudat-Kocks. München [et al.]: Saur. 25 cm. ISBN 3-598-22145-2

Reihe B, Aufsätze: Verzeichnis deutschsprachiger japanbezogener Veröffentlichungen [Series B, Articles: Index of German-Language Publications about Japan]

Vol. 1, part 1. 1611-1900. 1998. xx, 409 p. ISBN 3-598-22147-9: DM 268.00

The publication of the Bibliography of Japan drags on. With the release of part 2 of volume 3 (1997, see RREO), at least Series A (monographs, journals, maps) is now complete. Publication of Series B (articles and essays) of this index to German publications on Japan will likely take many years. Like Series A, it, too, is organized into twenty classified sections, with sub-sections; this first volume indexes approximately 4,500 articles and reviews, "primarily from journals, but also from anthologies and encyclopedias." The bibliographic information seems to be reliable, though the system (or non-system) of abbreviations for journal titles leaves much to be desired. The index is bloated by titles permuted, absurdly, down to the adjective.

At the current pace, Series B will not be finished before 2006, at which point this work will be thoroughly retrospective in character. [sh/mj&sl]


Kleines Alpenlexikon: Umwelt, Wirtschaft, Kultur [Short Encyclopedia of the Alps: Environment, Economy, Culture]. Werner Bätzing. München: Beck, 1997. 320 p. 18 cm. (Beck'sche Reihe, 1205). ISBN 3-406-42005-2: DM 22.00

This volume belongs to the well-known geographic series from Beck Verlag that focuses on particular regions of the world. As such the Kleines Alpenlexikon offers the series' familiar format of an alphabetic listing of entries tailored for quick reference. Though the entries go well beyond a superficial treatment, it is not intended to form a comprehensive analysis of the region in question. As a work that concentrates on the Alps, the emphasis, as the subtitle implies, is on the environment, economics, and on culture. The author is well-known for his books on the environmental degradation of the Alps, so this volume is unusual in the series in that its focus is clearly on a particular theme. The volume includes an index, an annotated directory of addresses, and a selected bibliography. [wc/rob]


Enzyklopädie des Nationalsozialismus [Encyclopedia of National Socialism]. Ed. Wolfgang Benz, Hermann Graml, and Hermann Weiß. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1997. viii, 900 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 3-608-91805-1: DM 98.00


Enzyklopädie des Nationalsozialismus [Encyclopedia of National Socialism]. Ed. Wolfgang Benz, Hermann Graml, and Hermann Weiß. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, 1997. viii, 900 p. ill. 23 cm. (dtv, 33007). ISBN 3-423-33007-4: DM 39.00

This work on National Socialism appears simultaneously in cloth (by Klett Verlag) and in trade paper (by Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag). Both are massive tomes, with 132 authors contributing over 900 pages of text. The work is made up of three parts: the first includes a 'handbook' of 26 articles on major themes; part 2 is a more encyclopedia-like, alphabetic treatment, with some 1000 short entries that include literature citations for further reading; part 3 encompasses a large index of persons mentioned in the first two parts, with the entries including brief biographical data. The scope of the work is sweeping, with coverage spanning not only a wide range of political themes (domestic and foreign policy, economic policy, social, and cultural politics), but also such topics as film, entertainment, youth, technology, athletics, women, and literature.

The target group for the work is the broader, educated reading public, thus attempting to make the text accessible while simultaneously avoiding weighty scholarship. This tendency to minimize the scholarly apparatus is, however, a weakness of the book. Authors of other works are frequently mentioned in the text without providing bibliographic citations of their works, thus making it difficult for the reader to investigate the handled topics in more depth. Nonetheless, one short essay does focus on the general scholarly research on National Socialism, and a selected bibliography is also appended to this essay.

The biographical dictionary/index of part 3 purports to include every personage mentioned in the first two parts. The desire to fulfill this claim takes on extreme proportions, in that every name, regardless of whether it is directly associated with National Socialism or not, is provided with a biographical entry. Thus, one can find entries for Bach, Beethoven, Bismarck, Büchner, Grabbe, Goethe, even Friedrich Barbarossa! At the same time, this striving for comprehensiveness is not carried out consistently, with some National Socialist figures mentioned in the first two parts not being included in the index. These inconsistencies, and others, raise the suspicion that this otherwise useful reference tool suffers from having had too many individuals involved in its creation, both in terms of authors and in regard to the editorial work. [kb/rob]


NRW-Lexikon: Politik, Gesellschaft, Wirtschaft, Recht, Kultur [Encyclopedia of North Rhine-Westphalia: Politics, Society, Economy, Law, Culture]. [Design Ralph Angermund et al.]. Opladen: Leske + Budrich, 1996. xv, 322 p. ill. 21 cm. ISBN 3-8100-1600-4: DM 29.80

This reference work focusing on the politics, society, economy, law, and culture of North Rhine-Westphalia was created to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of this prosperous German state. Because this volume only deals with the politics and society of North Rhine-Westphalia of the past fifty years, those wishing to explore the previous history of the region now encompassing this state will have to turn elsewhere. For a work that focuses on history, see Nordrhein-Westfalen: Landesgeschichte im Lexikon (Düsseldorf: Patmos, 1993).

The NRW-Lexikon is meant for non-specialists, and does not assume a high degree of knowledge of general Westphalian culture. It is organized alphabetically into 147 encyclopedia-like articles which are easy-to-read and readily accessible. This simplicity, however, comes at a price, since bibliographical references are absent. In places information is also inconsistent in terms of subject coverage and comprehensiveness; some entries include more complete statistics than comparable entries elsewhere in the volume. There is an index at the end, as well as a table of contents that is organized thematically or by broad subjects. [sh/rob]


Bremer Lexikon: ein Schlüssel zu Bremen> [Bremen Dictionary: A Key to Bremen]. Werner Kloos and Reinhold Thiel. 3d rev. ed. Bremen: Hauschild, 1997. 399 p. ISBN 3-931785-47-5: DM 44.00

First published in 1977 (365 pages), the Bremer Lexikon is among the older dictionaries on German cities. The second edition of this work (1980), likewise prepared solely by Werner Kloos, is in the meantime also quite dated. Reinhold Thiel's third, up-to-date edition of Kloos's work, with ca. 1,850 articles (not counting cross-references), contains entries on the history and present of the city that are usual for what is usually found in this type of dictionary. The 91 articles under the letter A, for example, break down into the following subject groups: concepts (26); buildings (19); persons (18); streets and places, bodies of water, and city districts (13); and businesses and other organizations, as well as libraries, archives, and museums (5 each). The articles range from short to very short, with only the longer articles having one or two bibliographical references. Of the 18 articles on individuals, only seven cite (and at that quite haphazardly) primary and/or secondary literature; one randomly selected article, on the other hand (Architektur, Bremische), consists entirely of bibliographic references. For interested citizens of and new arrivals to Bremen. [sh/ga]


Danzig von A bis Z [Danzig/Gdansk from A to Z]. Jerzy Samp, trans. from the Polish by Peter Oliver Loew. Bremen: Temmen, 1997. 288 p. ill. 20 cm. ISBN 3-86108-442: DM 34.00 [Title of the orig. Polish edition: Bedeker gdaÕski (GdaÕsk: Polnord-Wydawnictwo "Oskar," 1994)]

Since the reviewer had access only to a copy of the title-page of the 1994 original Polish edition and because there is no foreword or afterword to the German edition, one must rely on the publisher's scope note on the back cover for an overview of the contents: 128 articles on the history of Danzig that are less like dictionary entries and more like "histories, essays, and stories." We learn nothing about the selection criteria: apparently the work is a collection of articles about persons, buildings (in part collective essays like "Burgher-houses and Other Buildings," "Churches," or "City Gates"), institutions, or topics about which the author wanted to write something. Therefore, balance is neither to be expected nor was it evidently intended: for example, we find an article on Arthur Schopenhauer, but nothing about Immanuel Kant; the Akademisches Gymnasium is covered, but not the university. It is above all the historical Danzig the commands the foreground, whereby the line to the present is only occasionally drawn; articles about living persons (e.g. Günter Grass) are the exception. Bibliographic references are lacking in the articles, as is a general bibliography. In short, this is no city guidebook in the narrow sense of the word, and thus is no "indispensable reference work," but rather only a literary divertissement. [sh/ga]


Stadtlexikon Dresden: A - Z [Dresden City Encyclopedia, A-Z]. Folke Stimmel, et al. 2d rev. ed. Dresden: Verlag der Kunst, 1998. 509 p. 27 cm. ISBN 3-364-00304-1: DM 98.00

As one reads in the Foreword (p. 6), the "revision" this new edition is based on has been limited to (1) corrections of factual and typographical errors and (2) minor additions "to the extent possible." Random checking confirms this statement: page layout has been changed minimally if at all; space needed for the "minor" additions has been recouped in part by eliminating double-spacing elsewhere. The headword for the article Saxon State Library (Sächsische Landesbibliothek Dresden) has not been changed, with the new name, Saxon State Library/State and University Library Dresden (Sächsische Landesbibliothek Dresden-Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden), along with the date of the merger, merely appended to the end of the article. These corrections and miniscule additions scarcely justify the acquisition of the second edition by libraries which already own the 1994 first edition (cf. RREA 1:546). [sh/ga]


Weimar: Lexikon zur Stadtgeschichte [Weimar: Encyclopedia of City History]. Ed. Gitta Günther et al. 2d ed. Weimar: Böhlaus Nachfolger, 1998. 548 p. illus. 25 cm. ISBN 3-7400-0807-5: DM 58.00

Although promoted by the publisher as an updated second edition, few traces of any editorial activity that might distinguish this release from its 1993 predecessor (reviewed favorably several years ago in RREO and RREA 1:547) are discernible to the naked eye. The only perceptible differences are superficial: a slightly larger format, a price that is DM 10 less than the first edition, a new greeting from a new mayor, and a putative copy deadline of February 27, 1997. The foreword has simply been re-dated four years later-but is otherwise unchanged. It is to be assumed that the publishers were mainly concerned that the book look new for the year 1999, when Weimar can bask in the sunshine of its official status as a "European Cultural Capital."

One difficulty with this strictly cosmetic approach to re-edition is that recent research that might have improved some of the articles is not only ignored, but the impression is conveyed that it doesn't exist-the article on "Buchenwald, Speziallager No. 2" offers a particularly unfortunate example. But even though it would have benefited from some additions and revisions, this re-issue still deserves the praise that the first edition received as representing a new breed of historical city lexica. [sh/jg]


Historisches Lexikon Wien: in 5 Bänden [Historical Encyclopedia of Vienna in 5 Volumes]. Wien: Kremayr & Scheriau. 25 cm

Vol. 4 [Le-Ro]. 1995. xiv, 708 p. illus. ISBN 3-218-00546-9: ÖS 1500.00
Vol. 5 [Ru-Z]. 1997. xiv, 764 p. illus. ISBN 3-218-00547-7: ÖS 1500.00

Volumes 1 (1992) through 3 (1994) of this work were presented in considerable detail in an earlier RREO review as well as in RREA 1:536. The appearance of the final two volumes of the set confirm that it is not only the largest historical city encyclopedia ever created, but also one of the best, of a "quality commensurate with [Vienna's] status in the history of European capitals," as was stated in the RREA review of 1995. [sh/jg]


Dizionario storico dell'Italia unita [Historical Dictionary of Unified Italy]. Ed. Bruno Bongiovanni and Nicola Tranfaglia. Roma; Bari; Laterza, 1996. viii, 1031 p. 25 cm. ISBN 88-420-5081-4: Lit. 95,000

This is not (as the title would have it) a dictionary, but rather an encyclopedia that sets out to cover all aspects of the most recent 140 years of Italian history. 73 named authors have contributed 83 articles, each averaging a little over ten pages in length, and these are arranged in alphabetical order by subject-although an arrangement into topical groups, e.g. "Historical Periods," "Politics," and "Culture and the Sciences," would have perhaps been more appropriate. As it is, articles on historical periods and events, for example (fine secolo, the two world wars, the Repubblica Italiana, itself broken up into two articles covering 1946-67 and 1968-94 respectively), are scattered across the volume, as are those on politics (movements, political parties, elections), social groups (bourgeoisie, middle class, clerics, family, youth, intellectuals, women), public administration (the prison system, justice, the military), and cultural topics (arts, education, literature, languages and dialects, sports-but not music or philosophy). Eleven central figures of Italian history and life, from Cavour to Gramsci, also have articles devoted to them.

This volume is far more suitable for browsing or for relaxed reading than for reference consultation, given that there is no index of names or concepts mentioned in individual articles. Bibliographic references at the end of each article are restricted to 10-15 monographs in Italian-references to journal literature are rare. Also, the cross-references found at the end of each article are not especially helpful: the reader will scarcely need to be told, for example, that the articles on De Gasperi and Democrati cristiani are likely to be complementary. Useful, on the other hand, is a detailed chronology, individually referencing events in the various arenas of Italian life. Finally, there are numerous lists of officeholders and tables of statistics. This work can be regarded as a complement to existing reference works on recent Italian civilization available in English. [sh/jg]

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Last update: July 31, 2000 [RD]
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