DA -- History and Area Studies

Der Brockhaus, Geschichte: Personen, Daten, Hintergründe [The Brockhaus Encyclopedia of History: People, Dates, Contexts]. Ed. Jürgen Hotz. Mannheim; Leipzig: Brockhaus, 2003. 991 p. ill. 25 cm. (Brockhaus-Sachlexika). ISBN 3-7653-0331-3: EUR 49.95 [02-2-437]

This encyclopedia of world history, published in the series Brockhaus-Sachlexika, contains approximately 4,000 entries for persons, subjects, events, and places. The introduction claims that the articles are “completely revised.” This is, however, not true, as the articles are often the same or very similar to those found in the 20th edition of the comprehensive Brockhaus encyclopedia. As do others in this new series, the work features photos, maps, tables, information boxes, and some special articles (although these are not much longer than the regular articles). No references or bibliographies are included. This is a useful encyclopedia of world history suitable for the general reader and for public libraries. [sh/ba]

Taschenbuch für Familiengeschichtsforschung [Pocket Handbook of Genealogical Research]. Wolfgang Ribbe and Eckart Henning. 12th updated and expanded ed. Neustadt an der Aisch: Degener, 2001. 679 p. 22 cm. ISBN 3-7686-1062-4: EUR 42.50 [02-1-152]

The publication history of the Pocket Handbook began in 1911; it has been some years now since it fit comfortably even into the pocket of a jacket. The changes between the 10th and 11th editions were considerable, however only those that have occurred with the 12th edition justify the designation “updated and expanded.” For example, Chapter 3 of Part 1, on computers and genealogy, has been completely rewritten, as has the chapter in Part 2 on genealogy and human genetics. Of interest to librarians is the updated section on funeral sermons (as a source of family history). The section on lists of clergy names remains as it was in the previous edition and thus omits a number of such lists that have been published since 1990. The section on Jewish genealogy has received little or no updating; there are significant gaps in its bibliography. The same is unfortunately true for the section covering matriculations at universities and other institutes of higher education. There is however a new section covering research into servants and minor officials at the German princely courts, by Peter Bahl, an expert in the field. The updating of the large section on bibliographic reference works is unsatisfactory. The preface mentions plans to transfer some chapters to a new edition of the 1972 publication Handbuch der Genealogie, thus reducing the dimensions of the Taschenbuch. One hopes this will be an occasion to more thoroughly update the information contained therein. [sh/crc]

Historikerlexikon: von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart [Encyclopedia of Historians from Antiquity to the Present]. Ed. Rüdiger vom Bruch and Rainer A. Müller. 2d rev. and expanded ed. München: Beck, 2002. ix, 394 p. 19 cm. (Beck’sche Reihe, 405). ISBN 3-406-47643-0: EUR 19.90 [02-2-441]

The edition is revised insofar as bibliographic references have been brought up to date, and some 70 articles have been added, generally covering historians who died in the past decade. The rest of text is mostly the same as the first (1991) edition. Approximately 600 historians of all periods are treated in signed articles, arranged chronologically by year of birth and averaging one column in length; emphasis is on mid-18th century Central Europe, particularly the German-speaking countries. The inclusion criteria appear to have been flexible, with the appearance of some art historians seeming particularly arbitrary. The biographical information in the articles is extremely brief. The focus is on the person’s work and, to varying degrees, its significance. The secondary literature in particular is up-to-date in the short title bibliography, but not all of the major primary works are listed. The index to historians whose names appear in the articles has been omitted. In spite of some real weaknesses, this new edition is a must for all libraries, as well as for those with an interest in history. [sh/mm]

Répertoire des historiens français de la période moderne et contemporaine: Annuaire 2000 [Repertory of French Historians on the Modern and Contemporary Period. 2000: Directory]. Ed. Daniel Roche for the Institut d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine (IHMC) of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). 3d ed. Paris: CNRS, 2000. 495 p. 24 cm. ISBN 2-271-05807-4: FF 190.00

An RREO Original Review

This third edition of a directory that has appeared at nearly decennial intervals beginning in 1983 continues and moves beyond its predecessors. From the start, its sponsors, the Institut d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine of the Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique, aimed to record the growing number of specialists in history and the increasing complexity of their fields. Providing a listing with topical and geographical indexes would not only enable researchers to contact others in their area of interest. As a reference tool, it was also meant to mirror the current historical research in France and its increasingly interdisciplinary nature. This edition fulfills these goals admirably on several levels.

The chronological span of history covered here is broader than one might expect; for, unburdened by the notion of “early modern,” French historians extend the modern period back to the 15th century. The geographical range is thoroughly global. The array of related disciplines represented is also large: historians of art, literature, the environment, science, and technology are included. Apart from membership directories of learned societies, relatively few directories of comparable scope exist. One that comes to mind is the Directory of European Historians of North America: Addresses, Publications, Research in Progress (Berlin, 1994). Most others are more restricted by era and sub-discipline.

Comparing the three editions illuminates several aspects of the evolution of historiography in the past 20 years. First, shifts in size and composition of the profession in France are apparent. The first edition comprised 1,267 entries for individuals, the second approximately 1,195, and the third 2,000, almost doubling the number in the 1991 edition. In addition, the new directory recognizes and includes individuals not often found in professional and academic directories: retired or independent scholars, local érudits, journalists, and writers. The absence of historians working in secondary education, lamented in the first edition, has been remedied.

Entries for individual historians in the 2000 directory form the principal section of the book; they list title, personal address, telephone, institutional affiliation, research in progress, and thesis title and date as well as its published version. E-mail addresses and FAX numbers are rare. The lists of publications and editorial boards of the earlier editions have been eliminated. The entries have been expanded slightly to include full labels (e. g., thèse nouveau régime [new style thesis], recherche en cours [research in progress]) instead of using confusing abbreviations; also, full addresses are given for universities, schools, major scholarly institutions, and other research centers. The lengthy appendix listing these is omitted as no longer necessary, unless you want to look up an institutional address without knowing the name of a colleague there.

The second feature of the historiographical evolution, the proliferation of sub-fields and the increasing interdisciplinarity of historical research, is evident from comparing the topical and geographical indexes in the three works. The 1983 edition classified topics in general rubrics such as institutional history, economic history, social history, religious history, history of civilization, and auxiliary sciences, all with multiple subtopics. This structure proved flexible enough to accommodate developments that emerged by 1991. Thus, the topic “history of capitalism” gave way to “history of economic structures and ideas;” “social history” added women and gender, forests and environment; “material life” became “material culture.” The third edition abandons this structure for an alphabetical listing of topics, some of which are subdivided into broad chronological sections. Many former subtopics (e.g., Catholicism, paleography) become entries, and many entries (e.g., agriculture, transportation, World Wars I and II) represent subjects that had formerly been invisibly subsumed under broader headings. This change allows historians to find fellow practitioners according to precise and more current topics. Among the new appearances are decolonization, cultural relations, Europe, sports, quantitative methodologies, and computers.

Similarly, the geographical index of the 2000 edition replaces the earlier organization that placed France first, followed by Europe and the other continents, with a simple alphabetical sequence. Again the advantage is that new areas of interest and historians’ concerns with regional and local emerge more readily. Thus Albania emerges from the Balkans, Algeria from the Maghreb, Berlin from Germany, and the Alps from numerous regions.

This directory of French historians is evolving in step with changes in historiography and is highly recommended for research libraries both as a reference tool and a source for historians’ awareness of their changing craft.

Dictionnaire biographique d’archéologie: 1798–1945 [Biographical Encyclopedia of Archaeology: 1798–1945]. Eve Gran-Aymerich. Paris: CNRS Éditions, 2001. 741 p. 24 cm. ISBN 2-271-05702-7: EUR 44.97 [02-1-153]

This international encyclopedia of archaeology covers the period from Napoleon’s expedition to Egypt through the end of World War II. Gran-Aymerich explains in the foreword that she does not adhere strictly to the time period, as great archaeologists of the 17th and 18th centuries (such as Johann Joachim Winckelmann, 1717–1768) are included). The work covers the lives of 640 archaeologists, collectors, natural scientists (e.g., geologists who conducted archaeological research), and artists (e.g., Giovanni Battista Piranesi). The entries disproportionately detail French and other European archaeologists, with only a few exceptions. The concise entries (one-half to three pages in length) provide the name, lifespan, specialization, nationality, significant scientific positions held, important research, and relationship to their students and teachers. They conclude with a selected bibliography of works and secondary literature. The lack of indexes is regrettable. [sh/msc]

Lexikon der Pharaonen [Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs]. Thomas Schneider. Düsseldorf: Albatros-Verlag, 2002. 327 p. ill. maps. 29 cm. ISBN 3-491-96053-3: EUR 14.90 [02-1-155]

This encyclopedia was first published in 1994 by Artemis-Verlag and reissued in 1997. The 2002 edition is yet another unchanged reissue, now published by Albatros-Verlag (only the subtitle has been dropped). In 1996, Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag published an updated paperback edition of this title (with a revised bibliography and corrections); the corrections of the 1996 edition, however, are not reflected in the publication in hand. Unfortunately, the preferable paperback edition is out of print, although it was scheduled for reissue in 2002. This current edition still remains the best source for concise information covering Egyptian rulers from ca. 3150 BC to 313 AD. [sh/msc]

Wörterbuch der Antike: mit Berücksichtigung ihres Fortwirkens [Dictionary of the Ancient World: With Attention to Its Continuing Influence]. Ed. Hans Lamer. 11th completely rev. and expanded ed. Stuttgart: Kröner, 2002. xvi, 992 p. maps. 18 cm. (Kröners Taschenausgabe, 96). ISBN 3-520-09611-0: EUR 29.00. [02-2-446]

The Wörterbuch der Antike, first published in 1933 by Hans Lamer, is the most successful continuously published dictionary of classical antiquity in the German language, and its publication history merits a short summary. The second edition (1936) grew from 784 pages in the 1933 first edition to 892 pages, and added two editors, due to the declining health of founding editor Hans Lamer. That edition, unlike later ones, included in its preface the note that “above all we have emphasized the influence of the great questions of present-day Germany on the field of Classical Studies.” The entry for “Jews,” however, remained the same as in the first edition, and was not substantially changed until the eighth edition in 1976. The first completely revised edition, the sixth (1963), reduced the volume to 637 pages and added bibliographic notes to the end of many entries. Paul Kroh took over the publication in 1966 and increased the size of the book to 832 pages in the eighth edition. Fortunately, the new editor appointed by the publisher after Kroh’s death has kept the number of entries at about 3,000 by adding and removing a few headwords, and has made several improvements to the entries, such as the addition of accent marks on the Greek headwords, “when they differ from today’s customary accentuation.”

One still misses some of the interesting entries from the earlier editions, most of which were already gone by 1989. One fine example of both continuity and regrettable loss of colorful description is shown in the entry for Troja [Troy], in the present edition much as in the ninth: “at the actual location... [there] are but few impressive ruins.” In the 1956 edition, the passage reads: “A trip to Troy is worthwhile only for the genius loci; not for sober study! On Dörpfeld’s beautiful maps, it all looks very clear; at the actual location there is a terrible mess of graves, walls and layers.” Oddly, the dictionary does not comment on the 2001 controversy over the historical meaning of Troy, and documents only one side of it in the bibliography.

Thankfully, the present edition does retain the distinguishing feature of the dictionary, the history of reception to which the work’s subtitle refers. It is this material about the historical and continuing relevance of classical antiquity which probably interests the lay public most. The interested lay reader will surely continue to find in this volume a high-quality handbook on ancient times, now and in the inevitable future editions. [sh/rb]

Drittes Reich und Zweiter Weltkrieg: das Lexikon [The Third Reich and Second World War: The Encyclopedia]. Friedemann Bedürftig. München: Piper, 2002. 573 p. 22 cm. ISBN 3-492-04405-0: EUR 24.90 [02-1-159]

Friedemann Bedürftig has compiled reference volumes on almost any topic: Goethe (see RREA 5:118), the Stauffer (see RREA 7:286), Charles V, the Thirty-Years War, and Bismarck, to name a few. The bulk of his reference experience, however, covers post-1933 German history. The trend to reissue and market hardcover editions as paperbacks under different publishers is not new, but this recycled edition has a new twist. It has been expanded from the original 1994 Lexikon III. Reich (Carlsen-Verlag), reissued in paperback in 1997 as Lexikon Drittes Reich (see RREA 5:232), and now combined with the 2000 paperback Taschenlexikon Zweiter Weltkrieg (Piper-Verlag) and described as a “combination encyclopedia” in hardcover. The editors make no mention of this complex publishing history, and the content is by and large unchanged. The ca. 1,500 articles included in this work cover people, geographic areas, corporate bodies, events, and key subject terms, with entries that vary from a few sentences to a page and a half in length. Articles do not include references; a seven-page bibliography appears at the end of the volume. This encyclopedia’s claim to be “The Encyclopedia” for this topic is without basis. Academic libraries can forego purchasing this title. [sh/msc]

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Last update: March 6, 2006 [BG]
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