2007

DA – History and Area Studies


Europa-Historiker: ein biographisches Handbuch [European Historians: A Biographical Handbook]. Ed. Heinz Duchhardt. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. ill. 21 cm. [07-1-231]

Vol. 1. 2006. x, 338 p. ISBN 978-3-525-30154-8: EUR 28.90

Vol. 2. 2006. viii, 336 p. ISBN 978-3-525-30155-5: EUR 28.90

Vol. 3. 2007. viii, 233 p. ISBN 978-3-525-30158-6: EUR 28.90

With the present volume, the handbook Europa-Historiker, whose first two volumes were thoroughly reviewed in IFB 06-2-337, is complete. The points of criticism noted in the 2006 IFB review also apply to the third volume. These include the range of historians portrayed is too diffuse and unsystematic for a handbook, the individual articles are too heterogeneous (for instance, twenty pages are devoted to François Guizot and only nine to Voltaire), and the concept of Europe that serves as a basis for the work is too vague.

Nevertheless, the reader does become acquainted with interesting authors who were in some way occupied with Europe but previously unknown to most readers and thus worth exploring. The selection includes several European countries, begins in the Renaissance, and ends in the middle of the last century. In the present volume, an Italian (Francesco Guicciardini, 1483-1540), two Frenchmen (Voltaire/François-Marie Arouet, 1694-1778; François Guizot, 1787-1874), three Germans (Niklas Vogt, 1756-1836; Arnold Herrmann Ludwig Heeren, 1760-1842; Albert Mirgeler, 1901-1979), a Spaniard (José Ortega y Gasset, 1883-1955), a Swiss (Denis de Rougement, 1906-1985), and a Briton (Denys Hay, 1915-1994) are represented. What is more, it is apparent that the subjects are true historians only in some of these cases. Because the “handbook” is organized on the life-and-works model, the entire scholarly output of every “European historian” is included. Although informative, this arrangement occasionally obscures the connection to Europe. This issue is particularly evident in Christiane Coester’s article on Francesco Guicciardini (p. 1-27). She describes his Storia d’Italia as an example of genuine European historiography, although for Guicciardini this work was less about Italy or Europe and more about humanity in general.

A postscript is dedicated to a discussion of what the editors consider the 36 most important European historians and the themes and notions they expressed. The volume concludes with a not-very-reliable index of names; at the end of every article there is a select bibliography, and in five cases supplemental footnotes with references. [frh/tl]

Vademekum der Geschichtswissenschaften: Verbände, Organisationen, Gesellschaften, Vereine, Institute, Seminare, Lehrstühle, Bibliotheken, Archive, Museen, Dienststellen, Ämter, Verlage und Zeitschriften sowie Historiker in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz [Guide to the Historical Sciences: Associations, Organizations, Societies, Clubs, Institutes, Seminars, Professorships, Libraries, Archives, Museums, Agencies, Bureaus, Publishers, and Journals, as well as Historians in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland]. Published in agreement with Verband der Historiker Deutschlands. Stuttgart: Steiner. 24 cm. ISSN 0946-798X [07-1-232]

Vol. 7. 2006/07. 2006. 699 p. ISBN 978-3-515-08809-1: EUR 42

This directory has appeared in two-year intervals since 1994 (see RREO 94-2-192 and RREA 2:294 for the 1st and 2d editions). Even the newest edition exhibits the same shortcomings as before. There is no subject index and no alphabetical index of institutions, making it impossible to look up institutions in a chosen subject area, such as German ecclesiastical history. The index of personal names has grown from 300 to 370 pages, making it larger than the listing of institutions. The selection criteria for this index are a mystery. Why is it necessary to list large general institutions such as the Bavarian State Library or even to include the sweeping categories of “archives, museums and libraries?” Because the personal entry information is gleaned through questionnaires that offer a list of 48 research specializations, which the respondents often fail to mark, the entries are very uneven both in length and in quality. It seems this directory would be a prime candidate for a full-text searchable online database with links to the institutional Web sites in the future. [sh/hh]

Taschenbuch für Familiengeschichtsforschung [Pocket Handbook for Genealogical Research]. Wolfgang Ribbe and Eckart Henning. 13th, rev. ed. Insingen: Degener, 2006. 349 p. ill. 22 cm. + 1 CD-ROM. ISBN 3-7686-1065-9: EUR 27.90 [07-2-581]

This edition is a slimmed-down version (almost half the page length) of its 12th edition predecessor (see RREA 8:233) published in 2002. Part 1 (Introduction to Family-History Research) and Part 2 (Evaluation of Sources) are only slightly revised or expanded over the previous edition. However, Part 3 (Sources for Family-History Research) is much shorter, containing only guidelines for use and a bibliography of secondary literature. A very large portion of the 12th edition’s Part 3 has been transferred to the CD-ROM, but the bibliographical references have been updated only partially and unevenly. For example, the section on funeral orations has been re-titled, but many recent important bio-bibliographical resources, such as the 2006 Bibliographie der Pfarrbücher 1890-2003 [Bibliography of Pastor Registers...] are not included. The emphasis appears to be on Protestant churches and pastors over Catholic, and the section on Jewish genealogy has not been updated or expanded. The remaining parts–Aids to Evaluating Sources, Dictionary of Genealogical Terms, Address Book, History of Genealogy in Germany, Other Features–as well as the index of illustrations, the (incomplete) subject index, and the table of contents have all been moved to the CD-ROM.

Because the Degener publishers moved from Neustadt an der Aisch to Insingen (both in Bavaria) in 2007, this 13th edition was rushed into publication at the very end of the year. This might explain the lack of very much new or revised content. However, for those libraries that lack the significantly revised and expanded 12th edition, acquiring this 13th edition, with so much information in electronic format, might be worthwhile. [sh/ga]

Dizionario della Seconda guerra mondiale [Dictionary of the Second World War]. Ezio Cecchini. Roma: Stato maggiore dell’Esercito, Ufficio storico, 2007. 647 p. 25 cm. ISBN 9788887940800: EUR 15

An RREA Original Review by Thomas M. Izbicki (Rutgers University)

Ezio Cecchini has compiled a single-volume historical dictionary of the Second World War (1939-1945). The work has been published under the auspices of the Italian army, and the focus is heavily military. Entries for weapons, ships, and geographic features of zones of combat are numerous. Nonetheless, it also covers political personages and events. The Holocaust is treated in depth. The volume begins with a presentation by the head of the Historical Office of the Army and a description of the Office with its research resources. Professor Cecchini’s introduction states his intention to cover aspects great and small of the conflict. The arrangement is alphabetical. Europe, Africa, Australia, and Asia all are given due attention. North America receives less consideration, except for Hawaii and the sites involved in the creation of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. The volume has three appendices. One is a chronological table of major events in the war. The second is a set of tables listing the military ranks in the armed forces of the major combatants; included are combat units of the Fascist movement and the Waffen SS. The third is a listing of “means of combat,” arms, vehicles, and airplanes that were used by the major combatants. No bibliographical references are provided.

Canadian Studies in the New Millennium. Ed. Patrick James and Mark Kasoff. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008. viii, 310 p. 23 cm. ISBN 978-0-8020-9468-1: $35 [07-2-592]

Interest in Canada Studies in Germany has significantly increased this past decade (see, for example, the bibliographical references in IFB 07-2-418 and -592), and the demand for new reference and critical sources includes those in English. The editors intend this guide to give the reader perspectives on Canada’s geographical singularities and political characteristics; differences between Canada and the United States regarding such topics as culture, general world-views, minorities, multiculturalism, and welfare and health-care systems; strengths and weaknesses of the Canadian parliamentary system; the significance of French culture in North America; and the singular identity of Québec and its future within Canada.

The authors’ essays work together to form an overlapping narrative and integrated whole, not a mere collection of individual writings. Every chapter includes a bibliography of further readings and website addresses. The content is up-to-date and the writing style is even, in spite of the presence of numerous contributors. [tk/ga]


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