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George M. Eberhart

George M. Eberhart is senior editor of American Libraries; e-mail:

Administrative Subdivisions of Countries,by Gwillim Law (457 pages, December 1999), is a fascinating sociopolitical look at how the earth has been divided into more or less discrete sections. Law provides a breakdown of 238 countries into their provinces, regions, departments, or states and supplies population, area, and capitals for each. Historical data back to 1900 is also presented (for example, a list of the divisions of Russia prior to World War I), along with ISO and FIPS designations, subordinatesubdivisions, territorial extent, name origins, a chronology of territorial changes in the 20th century, time zones, and variant names. The book is useful for solving such tricky geographical problems as: What is the Pinyin equivalent for the old Wade-Giles spelling of Hsin-chiang in China? (Xinjiang Uyger.) In what region of France is the department of Puy-de-Dôme located? (Auvergne.) What Moroccan province split from Agadir in 1986? (Taroudannt.) Which island of the Bahamas has Cockburn Town as its chief town? (San Salvador.) What is the Inuit name for West Greenland? (Kitaa.) The index lists all subdivisions, in case you have no idea what country a region is part of. People who delight in geographical detail will find this book essential. $95.00. McFarland. ISBN 0-78640729-8.

The Canadian Oxford Dictionary,edited by Katherine Barber (1,707 pages, October 1999), is a version of the Oxford English Dictionary that defines some 2,000 distinctly Canadian words and expressions, including the archetypal “eh?” The editors have paid particular attention to whether British or American spellings of certain words (colour, theatre, program) are more common in Canada. Short biographies of more than 800 Canadians, from Elvis Strojko and Celine Dion to Lester Pearson and Alexander Mackenzie, are included, as well as all Canadian towns with a population of 5,000 or more. The definitions, senses, and pronunciations are based on an analysis of more than 20 million words of Canadian text. An essential purchase for Canadiana collections. $35.00. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19541120-X.

Evolutionary Catastrophes,by Vincent Courtillot (173 pages, September 1999), is an excellent English translation of a French book published in 1995. Courtillot shows how the mass extinctions of the Cretaceous boundary could have been caused by cataclysmic volcanic activity. However, he does not rule out asteroid impact as a secondary cause. A refreshingly open-minded and lucid summation of the scientific evidence for earth catastrophes. $24.95. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-58392-6.

The Extreme Searcher’s Guide to Web Search Engines,by Randolph Hock (212 pages, March 1999), compares and contrasts the existing sites from AltaVista to Yahoo. Not only does Hock explain their differing features (such as which ones have stop words) and Boolean capabilities, he also provides examples of searches and how many URLs each retrieved. A handy book for both serious and occasional searchers. $34.95. Information Today, 143 Old Marlton Pike, Medford, NJ 08055-8750. ISBN 0-910965-382.

Film and the American Left: A Research Guide,by M. Keith Booker (427 pages, September 1999), thoroughly examines leftist elements in 260 American films from The Strike (1904) to Men with Guns (1998). The works of such well-known directors as Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, William Wellman, Fritz Lang, John Huston, Stanley Kubrick, Oliver Stone, and John Sayles are included and analyzed. Booker identifies a “rich, though complex, relationship between film and the American Left” throughout the 20th century, and sets out to document that tradition. $89-50. Greenwood. ISBN 0-313-30980-9.

If parody is paramount, discriminating film collections will want Parody as Film Genre: “Never Give a Saga an Even Break, ” by Wes D. Gehring (223 pages, September 1999). Chapters cover spoofs of Westerns, the classic parodies of the Marx Brothers and Laurel and Hardy, Bob Hope and his disciple Woody Allen, the comedies of Mel Brooks, and other 1990s films like Hot Shots! Part Deux and Scream. $59.95. Greenwood. ISBN 0-31326186-5.

Genetic Engineering: A Documentary History,edited by Thomas A. Shannon (282 pages, September 1999), reprints 135 documents relating to the history and development of the human genome project, cloning, and gene therapy, which will undoubtedly constitute the hottest biological research areas of the early 21st century. Ethical, diagnostic, and research issues are carefully selected to represent a wide range of opinions. $49-95. Greenwood. ISBN 0-313-304572.

How to Find Out about Financial Aid and Funding,by Gail Ann Schlachter (439-pages, 1999), evaluates 832 publications and Web sites that provide information on scholarships, individual grants, organizational grants, awards, and internships. More than 40% of the resources listed are available in digital format, mandating an arrangement by topic rather than format. Entries identify resources by type of assistance, subject, targeted groups, geographic areas, specific producers, or specific authors. $37.50. Reference Service Press. ISBN 0-918276-75-6.

Kiowa, Apache, and Comanche Military Societies,by William C. Meadows (495 pages, August 1999), examines the structure, rituals, and symbols of Southern Plains Indian military societies, including the Kiowa Black Legs Society, the Apache Blackfeet Society, and the Comanche Little Horses Society. Indian men and boys formed societies to celebrate victories in war, to perform community service, and to prepare young men for their roles as warriors and hunters. Meadows conducted extensive interviews with tribal elders and examined unpublished archival sources and linguistic data to provide a complete picture of the role of these societies in Indian culture and ethnic continuity. $65.00. University of Texas Press.

ISBN 0-292-75212-1.

The Ku Klux Kian and Related American Racialist and Antisemitic Organizations,by Chester L. Quarles (316 pages, September 1999), chronicles the directions the Kian has taken during its long and diverse history. As a police officer and ballistics examiner, Quarles participated in the investigations of almost all KKK activities in Mississippi in the midto late-1960s. He intends this book to be a descriptive, rather than an interpretative, analysis that seeks to discover why men and women join the Kian and what their values and philosophies are. A chapter on such “Kian surrogates” as survivalists and militias points out similarities and differences. $45.00. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0647-X.

The 761st “Black Panther” Tank Battalion in World War II,by Joe W. Wilson Jr. (313 pages, September 1999), is one of those well-documented labors of love that preserves the historical minutiae of significant events and the heroism of individuals for later generations of scholars. The 76lst tank battalion, the first African-American armored unit to enter combat, received a Presidential Unit Citation in 1978. This heavily illustrated work chronicles the battalion’s achievements and the belated tributes to their valor. The author’s father was a member of the 761st. $55.00. McFarland. ISBN 0-7864-0667-4. ■

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