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Association of College & Research Libraries

New Publications

George M. Eberhart is senior editor of American Libraries; e-mail: geberhart@ala.org

Between the Lines: The Mystery of the Giant Ground Drawings of Ancient Nasca, Peru,by Anthony F. Aveni (257 pages, June 2000), explores the origin of these huge geoglyphs in the Peruvian coastal desert, from the straight tracks that apparently served as pilgrimage trails, to the acre-sized monkeys, hummingbirds, spiders, and geometric shapes that form a gigantic mythographic theme park better visible to the gods in the air than to anyone on the ground. Intriguingly, archaeoastronomer Aveni finds little evidence for deliberate cosmic alignments, which goes against the theories of Nasca grande dame Maria Reiche. $39-95. University of Texas. ISBN 0-292-70496-8.

The Dante Encyclopedia,edited by Richard Lansing (1,006 pages, April 2000), contains nearly 1,000 entries written by 144 noted scholars from 12 countries, making it the premier English-language reference source on Dante. Besides entries on general topics (authority, justice, numerology, translations), there are entries on all the major characters of the Divine

Comedy,Dante’s other writings, his family, the mysterious Beatrice, Dante commentators, and sources. Some sense is even made of the obscure Guelf-Ghibelline rivalry. Numerous woodcuts and steel engravings accompany the text, along with diagrams of the structure of hell and purgatory, a chronology of the poet’s life, a list of popes to 1334, a comprehensive list of musical settings of the Commedia, and an index of Italian and Latin proper names in Dante’s works. Comp Lit will never be the same. $175.00. Taylor and Francis. ISBN 0-8153-1659-3.

Encyclopedia of Organized Crime in the United States,by Robert J. Kelly (358 pages, May 2000), is by no means comprehensive, but it does attempt to allot a greater amount of space to non-Italian groups such as the Chinese Triads, Colombian drug cartels, Mexican and Latino organizations, Russian emigres, and Jamaican posses. Entries cover individuals, organizations, and slang terms. $59.95- Greenwood. ISBN 0-313-30653-2.

French Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Pulp Fiction,by Jean-Marc Lofficier and Randy Lofficier (787 pages, September 2000), fills in a long-neglected bibliographic gap in the study of French-language science-fiction and fantasy literature, a genre with venerable roots and innumerable branches. The authors have covered all the bases in enormous detail: Part 1 reviews film, TV, radio, animation, comic books, and graphic novels; Part 2 covers literature from the Middle Ages (Chansons degesté) to the present. Included are interviews with animation director René Laloux and comicbook artist Moebius, 500 illustrations of covers and stills, and a 280-page dictionary of French, Belgian, and Québecois authors who are undeservedly little-known outside their respective countries. $95.00. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0596-1.

The Gallup Poll: Public Opinion, 1935- 1997, the CD-ROM Edition,edited by George Gallup Jr. (released May 2000), contains all 25 volumes of poll results in the Gallup Poll Annual Series, a cumulative index with hyperlinks to the results and answers to questions broken out by selected demographics. The single Windows-compatible disc also includes chronologies of events that may have influenced public opinion and brief analyses of selected issues. $495.00. Scholarly Resources.

The Genealogist's Virtual Library,by Thomas Jay Kemp (268 pages, April 2000), serves as a guide to historical books and other materials that have been digitized and made available on the Web. Nothing fragmented or for sale is included. Most of the material consists of either family histories or local histories arranged by state; other sources include church records, censuses, military records, passenger lists, and LC country studies. A CD-ROM disc accompanies the text for those who don’t want to retype URLs. $70.00. Scholarly Resources. ISBN 0-8420-2864-1.

Another CD-ROM-and-text guide from SR is The Civil War on the Web (220 pages, October 2000), which rates 95 of the best sites for content, aesthetics, and navigability, and offers a list of 300 more URLs for comprehensiveness. Highly recommended as a research aid on a topic that has spotty coverage in some areas and overwhelmingly inaccurate information in others. $55.00. Scholarly Resources. ISBN 0-8420-2848-X.

The German-American Experience,by Don Heinrich Tolzmann (466 pages, January 2000), records the essential history of America’s largest ethnic group, from the legendary first German named Tyrker, who visited Vinland with Leif Eriksson, to the “Beer and Bratwurst Summit” meeting between German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Clinton in May 1996 in Milwaukee. Especially noteworthy is the period of the First World War, “the darkest hour” in German-American history, when a concerted effort was made to eradicate everything German in America (including German books and collections in libraries). Tolzmann also documents German influences on American farming, business, Christmas customs, educational methods, music, literature, and journalism. Appendices include a list of prominent German-Americans, a chronology, German place names in the United States, sister-city relationships, and census data on German Americans from 1790 to 1990. $24.95. Prometheus. ISBN 1-57392-731-7.

Historic Figures of the Arthurian Era: Authenticating the Enemies and Allies of Britain's Post-Roman King,by Frank D. Reno (346 pages, June 2000), expands the research presented in the author’s The Historic King Arthur (McFarland, 1996) and identifies historical figures and events that have been obscured by the Avalon mists of Arthurian literary fiction. In this effort, Reno emphasizes that the battles the historic Arthur (Ambrosius Aurelianus, the son of the Roman co-emperor Constantius III and his Welsh concubine Ygerna) fought were struggles with various groups of Germanic peoples in order to establish a stable Celtic kingdom in the wake of the Roman withdrawal from Britain. These encounters took place both in Wales and the English midlands to the east, as well as in Gaul and Brittany on the continent. As Reno writes at one point, “Nothing in the search for the historic King Arthur is simple,” and this is also true for this book, which is as scrupulously documented as it is controversial. It’s well worth a visit, however, since it does much to demystify the British Dark Ages. $39.95. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864- 0648-8.

Hungry for Home,by Cole Moreton (288 pages, July 2000), is a heart-wrenching, true story of poverty and death in Ireland, this time on one of the most picturesque yet desolate islands in Europe—Great Blasket, in the Atlantic off the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, whose people spoke a pure dialect of Gaelic and had a knack for elegant oral history. When young Seáinín Ó Cearna collapsed and died in 1946 on Blasket without access to doctor or priest, residents appealed to the government for aid that never came. Two years later, they all abandoned the island their families had lived on since the 16th century and left for America. Moreton, a London journalist, tracked down descendants of the family in Springfield, Massachusetts, and pieced together this tale of a transition from the Middle Ages to modernity. $23.95- Viking. ISBN 0-670-89207-6. ■

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