DA — History and Area Studies

Dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte [Dtv Atlas of World History]. Hermann Kinder; continued by Werner Hilgemann and Manfred Hergt. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag. ill. maps. 19 cm. (dtv, 3002). [06-1-127]

Vol. 1. Von den Anfängen bis zur Französischen Revolution [From the Beginnings to the French Revolution]. 39th ed. 2007. 287, xviii p. ISBN: 978-342-303001-4, 3-423-03001-1: EUR 10

Vol. 2. Von der Französischen Revolution bis zur Gegenwart [From the French Revolution to the Present]. 39th rev. and expanded ed. 2006. ix, p. 289-662. ISBN: 3-423-03002-X, 978-3-423-03002-1: EUR 11

This well-known and time-tested reference work has seen constant use in school and university libraries since it first appeared on the scene in 1964. Over its lifetime the atlas has been translated into several languages, including English, the most recent edition of which is the 368-page, updated edition of The Penguin Atlas of World History (London, 2003). After a pause of some years, the publisher Dtv is again presenting it in both a reprint of the 1964-66 two-volume edition(2006—see RREA 12:211)and in an updated and enlarged edition. Volume 2 (1789-2005), is being published first [ed. note: the data for volume 1 are presented here for sake of completeness]. The layout has been retained from previous editions: left-hand pages contain colored maps and tables, while the right-hand pages present text with timelines and chronologies. Volume 2 also contains a list of abbreviations and a general index covering both volumes. The textual portion of volume 2, under the care of editor Manfred Hergt, has been restructured and expanded compared to previous editions. Altogether this is a very helpful, handy and up-to-date reference work. It is a pity, however, that the font chosen for the text is so small. [wl/crc]

Lexikon des Hellenismus [Encyclopedia of Hellenism]. Ed. Hatto H. Schmitt and Ernst Vogt. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2005. xii, 1,232 columns. ill. 29 cm. ISBN 3-477-04842-5: EUR 128 [06-1-128]

This lexicon of ancient Greece could well be entitled “Großes Lexikon des Hellenismus,” to distinguish it from its predecessor, Kleines Lexikon des Hellenismus (1993—see RREO 95-1-131). While the “small encyclopedia,” with its 900 pages, was no lightweight, this work is not only larger in its dimensions (29 cm.) but includes almost double the content of the original. A number of improvements from the older work have made it better and more user-friendly. The book now has a two-column layout; there are many more photos, now integrated into the text; and the footnotes and bibliographical references can be read without the aid of a magnifying glass. A number of the long articles have been broken up into parts. For example, the article on “Science” serves mostly to direct the reader to articles in the subcategories “Astronomy,” “Geography,” “Mechanics,” and “Optics.” There are more articles about states and geographical areas, albeit the editors have chosen not to include maps, which would have been a welcome addition. The introductory article “Hellenismus,” by the two editors has undergone few alterations. This completely revised Encyclopedia of Hellenism belongs on the reference shelf of every academic library and is the first work to which one should turn in all questions relating to Greek antiquity. [sh/akb]

Der Brockhaus, Atlas zur Geschichte: Epochen, Territorien, Ereignisse [Brockhaus Historical Atlas: Epochs, Territories, Events]. Jürgen Hotz. Mannheim; Leipzig: Brockhaus, 2005. 351 p. ill. maps. 25 cm. ISBN 3-7653-1601-6: EUR 29.95 [06-2-334]

Recently historical atlases meant for a broad reading audience interested in history seem to dominate. Mostly these atlases do not include purely maps but rather a combination of short introductions to the major historical periods, chronological tables, and beautiful color illustrations as well as relatively simple historical maps or outline maps. This is the case with the title under review [ed. note: the 2d, revised edition appeared in 2007]. The edition under review is arranged into 14 sections, from antiquity to the age of globalization. The introductory texts to the individual sections and commentary on the 210 maps are brief, though the chronological tables are more detailed. Some of the color illustrations are quite small, which might require a magnification aid. The volume’s chronology extends to June 2004, and it concludes with a combined place, name and subject index. The authors as stated are nine professional historians. Considering the large choice of historical atlases available, including those truly deserving this designation, this volume appears dispensable for academic and large public libraries. [wl/tl]

Dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte: von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart [Dtv Atlas of World History: From the Beginnings to the Present]. Hermann Kinder, Werner Hilgemann, and Manfred Hergt. Updated new ed. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2006. xxv, 667 p. maps. 25 cm. (dtv, 8598). ISBN 978-3-423-08598-4; ISBN 3-423-08598-3: EUR 17.50 [06-2-335]

Since two other new historical atlases are discussed preceding and following, failing to include the newest one-volume special edition of the most successful title combining cartography and historical chronology would be remiss, though one should refer to previous reviews to learn more about its contents and workmanship (the original title, Dtv-Atlas zur Weltgeschichte, appeared in two volumes in 1964 and 1966 and are currently available in 37th and 38th editions respectively). Expanded coverage from the last special edition (München, 2000—see IFB 00-1/4-353) is mainly due to updates to the second volume, which covers the period since the French Revolution (München, 2006—see RREA 12:208). Although 2004 is given as the ending date in the running headers in the newest sections on contemporary history, dates into the middle of 2006 appear in the chronological text. The special edition, in addition to its price being more reasonable than its two-volume counterpart, offers a larger and thus easier-to-read format. [sh/tl]

Perthes-Atlas Geschichte [Perthes Historical Atlas]. Ed. Hans Ulrich Rudolf and Vadim Oswalt. Gotha; Stuttgart: Klett-Perthes, 2006. 496 p. ill. maps. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-12-828124-7: EUR 24.95 [06-2-336]

The new Perthes-Atlas Geschichte, as opposed to many other products with a similar title, truly represents a handy historical atlas. Its presentation is similar to the Dtv-Atlas Weltgeschichte (see RREA 12:211), and it is in its conception mainly intended for history instruction in schools. The epochs treated range from the early history of mankind to the conflicts and crises at the turn of the 21st century. The volume’s text pages are didactically well-presented and include short outlines, illustrations and definitions (highlighted in yellow). It concludes with a 100-page combined subject, name and place index. The entire volume is extremely easy to read, with large type, easily visible maps and an easily identifiable index, even if occasionally too much information is packed into the maps. The text is unfortunately printed almost to the inside margin of pages, which could prevent libraries from binding if necessary later on. With its substantial maps, this volume is useful for all of those with an interest in history and, though nowadays the choice of historical atlases is great, could also be useful for history students. [wl/tl]

Klassiker der Geschichtswissenschaft [Classics of Historical Studies]. Ed. Lutz Raphael. München: Beck. 19 cm. (Beck’sche Reihe, …). [06-2-338]

Vol. 1. Von Edward Gibbon bis Marc Bloch [From Edward Gibbon to Marc Bloch]. 2006. 255 p. (…, 1687). ISBN 978-3-406-54118-6; ISBN 3-406-54118-6: EUR 14.90

Vol. 2. Von Fernand Braudel bis Natalie Z. Davis [From Fernand Braudel to Natalie Z. Davis]. 2006. 284 p. (…, 1688). ISBN 978-3-406-54104-9; ISBN 3-406-54104-6: EUR 14.90

This two-volume work provides short but authoritative profiles of a number of important figures in the international field of history from the past 250 years. However, the broad scope suggested by the title (and the publisher’s title-page copy, which promises coverage of the “life, work, and impact of the great historians” from the Enlightenment through the 20th century) belies these volumes’ relatively selective range. Raphael has settled on 27 historians (26 men and one woman), designated “classic” figures according to four criteria: their enduring stature, the influence they have exerted on the field, “the great work” for which they are known, and the engagement of their work with the political and cultural context of their day. For more extensive sources of biographies of historians, see Hauptwerke der Geschichtsschreibung [Masterpieces of Historiography] (Stuttgart, 1997—see RREA 3:237) and the Historikerlexikon: von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart [Encyclopedia of Historians from Antiquity to the Present] (München, 2002—see RREA 8:234).

The profiles cover professional lives lived from 1750 through the Cold War. Raphael includes generalists whose work spans multiple historical periods, ancient historians, medievalists, and a historian of science, but modern historians dominate. Considering the relatively small number of historians featured, it is to be expected that a large number of prominent international scholars are left out, though some of the omissions are striking. The editor acknowledges an overrepresentation of cultural, social, and intellectual historians among the figures profiled and, indeed, other areas such as diplomatic history are neglected here. The fact that these choices align with contemporary trends in historical studies in Germany would seem to risk placing the concept of the “classic” in question. In should also be noted that Raphael’s international scope extends primarily to German, Anglo-American, and French historians, to the exclusion of scholars from other parts of the globe.

The individual profiles are written by well-known scholars at a consistently high level. The entries average 15-20 pages in length and follow a uniform three-part structure: (1) life, (2) work, and (3) impact. Each profile is followed by a bibliography listing the historian’s works, bibliographies devoted to the historian, biographical works, and secondary literature. Both volumes contain short biographies of the contributors and a name index. [frh/kw]

Lexikon der DDR-Historiker: Biographien und Bibliographien zu den Geschichtswissenschaftlern aus der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik [Dictionary of GDR Historians: Biographies and Bibliographies concerning Historians from the German Democratic Republic] Lothar Mertens. München: Saur, 2006. 675 p. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-598-11673-5; ISBN 3-598-11673-X: EUR 180 [06-2-339]

Priester der Klio oder Hofchronisten der Partei?: kollektivbiographische Analysen zur DDR-Historikerschaft [Priests of Clio or Court Chronologers of the Party? Collective Biographical Analyses of Historians in the GDR]. Lothar Mertens. Göttingen: V&R Unipress, 2006. 179 p. 24 cm. (Berichte und Studien / Hannah-Arendt-Institut für Totalitarismusforschung, 52). ISBN 978-3-89971-307-7; ISBN 3-89971-307-9: EUR 22.90 [06-2-340]

The history of the humanities and the sciences in Nazi Germany has been the subject of multiple studies, for example, Michael Ruck’s Bibliographie zum Nationalsozialismus [Bibliography of National Socialism] (Darmstadt, 2000—see RREA 7:223). But humanities scholarship in the German Democratic Republic is still a relatively unexplored field. These two new titles by the prolific scholar Lothar Mertens provide a much necessary foundation for further research. To achieve maximum utility, both titles should be consulted together, along with Wilhelm Bleek and Lothar Mertens’ Bibliographie der geheimen DDR-Dissertationen = Bibliography of Secret Dissertations in the German Democratic Republic (München, 1994—see RREO 94-3/4-375).

The Lexikon contains over 1,100 bio-bibliographical entries on the East German professors and historians who had been granted the Dr.sc. degree. (Originating in the Soviet academic system, this degree had replaced the traditional Habilitation as the measure of scholarly achievement.) Each name entry begins with a short professional biography and is supplemented with bibliographic additions, listing the authored and edited volumes, contributions to the Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft (the central publication of East German historians), Festschriften and other publications in the scholar’s honor, decorations by the state, the party and the university. A catalog of various institutions of higher education, including traditional universities and technical colleges, shows how their academic mandates had been modified over time. For instance, the German Academy of Sciences, founded in 1946 as the successor of the Prussian Academy of 1700, was transformed along the Soviet academic model into a massive research enterprise comprising over 50 central institutes that employed until 1989 some 24,000 scholars.

By contrast to the Lexikon, Priester der Klio takes a collective-biographical approach. Here, Mertens arranges the raw material from the Lexikon into four sections: Anti-Fascism and the New Beginnings (1945-1948/9), Socialist Restructuring Of Institutions and Reconfigurations of Personnel (1950/51-1957/58), Self-Isolation from the Class Enemies in West Germany (1958-1971), The Honecker Era (1971-1989). The 63 detail-rich tables bring together the biographies, academic activities, and research specialties of historians from the GDR. The last chapter, What is left?, traces the post-integration dissolution of communist-era institutions, with only a fraction of East German historians making a successful transition to a new society. The methods and procedures of East German historians are demonstrated to be lacking in rigor and subject to severe ideological constraints. Besides being valuable in themselves, these two works serve as an inspiration for further research into the historical scholarship in the former GDR as well as in other, less studied humanities disciplines. [fra/as]

Österreichische Geschichtswissenschaft im 20. Jahrhundert: ein biographischbibliographisches Lexikon [Austrian Historical Studies in the 20th Century: A Biographical-Bibliographical Lexicon]. Fritz Fellner and Doris A. Corradini. Wien: Böhlau, 2006. 476 p. 24 cm. (Veröffentlichungen der Kommission für Neuere Geschichte Österreichs, 99). ISBN 978-3-205-77476-1; ISBN 3-205-77476-0: EUR 45 [06-2-341]

This lexicon provides short entries with factual data on approximately 1,030 historians (roughly half of them deceased) who were born within the current borders of Austria or who were active there in the 20th century. The field of history is construed broadly to include art history and legal history; literary, language, and music history are excluded, however. Coverage extends beyond the academy to encompass journalists who have published scholarly historical monographs. Because of the sheer numbers involved, local historians are not covered by the lexicon. All available printed sources have been consulted in preparing the entries: university faculty directories, directories of the professional associations of archivists and museum curators, for example, the Lexikon deutscher wissenschaftlicher Bibliothekare [Dictionary of German Academic Librarians] (Frankfurt, 2002—see RREA 10:40), historical journals, archives, and similarly. Questionnaires were also sent to the living historians.

The articles follow a uniform format: (1) heading with name, birth and (where applicable) death date, and highest professional position achieved; (2) genealogical information (parents and spouses with their professions, children; (3) chronological biography (education, professions, university career, political offices held, memberships in scholarly societies, works edited); (4) monographs published, in chronological order; and (5) secondary literature, in particular biographical bibliographies, as well as information about literary remains, archives, etc.

Gaps are inevitable in a reference work of this breadth, but it is worth noting that military historians are inadequately represented here. [sh/kw]

Handbuch der Maße, Zahlen, Gewichte und der Zeitrechnung [Handbook of Measures, Numbers, Weights, and Time Measurement]. Wolfgang Trapp and Heinz Wallerus. 5th rev. and expanded ed. Stuttgart: Reclam, 2006. 339 p. ill. 16 cm. ISBN 978-3-15-010587-0; ISBN 3-15-010587-0: EUR 14.90 [06-2-342]

This is a revised and expanded edition the handbook first published by Trapp in 1992. It provides a summary historical account of measurement, measuring systems, and time measurement and an extensive description of the International System of Units (SI). Units of measurement currently in use outside of the SI are also discussed and conversion information is provided. The handbook contains tables of archaic units of measure for length, surface, volume, and weight, arranged chronologically and geographically. Measurements used by particular industries (e.g., publishing and printing) and by consumers (e.g., clothing and shoe sizes) are likewise described. The authors are the former director of the Bavarian State Office of Weights and Measures (Trapp) and the Office’s acting director (Wallerus).

The volume contains a bibliography and subject index. The handbook is clearly written and illustrated and suitable for the expert and general user. It is recommended for any large library. [wl/kw]

Lexikon der Renaissance [Lexicon of the Renaissance]. Herfried Münkler and Marina Münkler. München: Beck, 2005. 472 p. 19 cm. (Beck’sche Reihe, 1670). ISBN 3-406-52859-7: EUR 14.90 [06-2-343]

This is a paperback reissue of a hardbound work previously published by the same publisher. The content and page number remain identical to those in the original, although an updating of the bibliographical references would certainly have been possible and desirable. The review of the 2000 original edition (see RREA 7:278-279) pointed out that this handbook of the Renaissance focuses mainly on art and culture, while other areas such as philosophy and the sciences are somewhat marginalized. For example, information about business can be found in a lengthy article under the term “Kaufleute” [merchants]. There are relatively few articles (only 82 in all) about people (32), cities (6), and other terms, which are not well suited for quick reference, but rather for longer reading and searching of related terms. Copies of the hardback edition were available in 2005 at a reduced price of EUR 9.80, less than the cost of the paperback. [sh/akb]

Großes Lexikon der Bestattungs-und Friedhofskultur: Wörterbuch zur Sepulkralkultur [Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Burial and Funeral Practices: Dictionary of Funerary Culture]. Ed. Reiner Sörries for the Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur Kassel. Braunschwieg: Thalacker. 25 cm. [06-2-348]

Vol. 2. Archäologie, Kunstgeschichte: archäologisch-kunstgeschichtlicher Teil; von Abfallgrube bis Zwölftafelgesetz [Archaeology, Art History: Archeological Art-Historical Section; From Rubbish Pit to the Law of the Twelve Tables]. 2005. 440 p. ill. ISBN 3-87815-182-9: EUR 56

This is the second volume in the projected five-volume work (volume 1, on folklore and cultural history, was reviewed in RREA 9:145). Although the preface promises coverage of a broader historical range, the primary focus is on classical Mediterranean cultures and Christian antiquity with brief overviews of Celtic, Slavic, Viking, and Muslim cultures. The treatment of Jewish burial culture is also limited to antiquity. For more detailed information in this area see Sepulcra judaica: Bibliographie zu jüdischen Friedhöfen und zu Sterben, Begräbnis und Trauer bei den Juden von der Zeit des Hellenismus bis zur Gegenwart (Essen, 2005—see RREA 12:60). Future volumes are scheduled to appear every two years: volume three, on practice and the present; volume four, on music and literature; and volume five, on individuals and influence. [sh/ab]

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Last update: October 2010 [LC]
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