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Books of Interest
Reviewed by Dean Tudor
Oxford Concise Chronology of English Literature
Michael Cox was formerly Senior Commissioning Editor for Reference Books at OUP. This book is based on the Oxford Chronology of English Literature (2002) which listed 30,000 works by 4,000 authors in a timeframe. It was originally published in 2004, with an updating in 2005. The "Concise" lists half the works of the mother set (15,000) by 3,000 authors. These significant works are arranged in chronological order by publication date (1474 through 2003), and placed in a cultural context. Much of this cultural context is not in the two volume set itself. For each year we get a list of some people who were born and others who died (but no actual month and date - except now and again, e.g. "Death of Mary I (17 Nov)" in 1558. Events are noted, as well as film titles. Timelines then are being stressed, to tell you what was being published, when, and by whom, and its "chronological neighbours". Works of the imagination dominate. The range is from William Caxton's The Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye (1473 or 1474) through Minette Walters Disordered Minds (2003). There is an author index and an anonymous title index, as well as an index to periodicals.
Quinion has been a word researcher for the OED since 1992, and he has a WorldWideWords Web site. This book was "first published 2002, reissued with new covers 2005", and the author asserts both a 2002 and a 2005 copyright date. Not having the 2002 edition on hand, I cannot make a page by page comparison. And most of the entries have no dates anyway, dates when a prefix or suffix came into being. Here are endings and beginnings for 1250 words, with a total of 10,000 examples. Quinion thus identifies the major affixes, excluding place name and personal name affixes. He also tries to show the links between words, both grammatically and thematically. The most common prefix seems to be ante- or anti-, while the most common suffix is -ant or -ent. The book is arranged in dictionary format, with a description of the term followed by a definition, a root source, and a description. There are plenty of internal cross-references. His major sources have been the OED database and the Web. As he says, "the aim throughout has been to provide many examples, on the principle that it is easier to absorb the subtleties of the way such forms are used when they are seen in action".
This book was first published under a different title in 1997; here, Townshend, an international history professor at Keele University in the UK and a published author on military history, has provided additional commentary since the events of "9/11." Eighteen essays have been written by fifteen individuals, all identified as contributors. The book is a military history, principally from the defeat of the Ottoman besiegers of Vienna in 1683. Since then, western Europe launched a course of global dominance. There are four major themes here: notes on military technology, description of combat experiences, discussion on the social impact of war, and material about the efforts to limit war's destructiveness by various organizations. Since 1997, Townshend points out that there have been more genocides, a breakdown of states, a privatization of the military, and terrorism. Part One here features the historical approach (Seven Years War, Great War, Second World War, Cold War, and the like). Part Two deals with technology of sea warfare, air warfare, women and war, and other such topics. There is a bibliography of further readings (arranged by chapter) and an index.
Jane Rogers is a professor of writing at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. She has written seven novels and many TV dramatizations. This book was first published in 2001; this second edition is in paperback. The first 140 pages cover 34 subject overviews in four pages each, with top books indicated by a different contributor. For example, Aritha van Herk writes on "Canada" (actually, just English Canada). Her 12 top authors include Montgomery, Laurence, Cohen, Engel, Findley, Atwood, Ondaatje, et al. Thus, 1120 authors are covered throughout the book, with about 4000 books being cited. With the update, 74 new authors are sourced and other new titles have been added. The solid contributors - 76 of them - are all writers. This highly selective guide even includes some personal details about the authors' lives, mainly life dates and anniversaries. Some examples of subject groupings: Adventure, Classics, Family Saga, Science Fiction. Topics include Childhood, Crime, and The Sea. Regions include Africa, Australia, and Caribbean. At the end of each section there is a list of the top titles that is covered by the essays. Prize winners are listed in a separate section, but only for three prizes in the UK and the Pulitzer. This reference work concludes with an index.
Here are 200 plus snapshots from outside the earth's atmosphere, as stunningly clear and colourful images. Countries, seas, mountains, and lakes are covered, as well as urban areas: for all six continents. At the start of each continent, there are long shots of each region, narrowing in to countries and then landmarks (Victoria Falls, Mount Everest, Taj Mahal, and Mecca's Kaaba) and cities (London, Paris, Rome, Venice, etc.). The text describes the imaging techniques and the mapping scales; the captions provide historical and statistical data. The majority of the images were captured by Landsat Polar satellites orbiting 705 km above the earth, and traveling at 27,000 kph. They record 16 million measurements a second, and can survey 33,670 square km in less than 27 seconds. This survey usually occurs only between 9 and 11 AM everywhere. Canada, despite its land mass, doesn't get much display space: only Vancouver, the St.Lawrence River, and our northland are given. The book concludes with a place index.
This book was originally published in 1980 and then 1995. Allen is an architect and a teacher (Oregon, Yale, MIT). The basic principles of a residential and office "building" are explained: how and why buildings stand up, how they age, why they die, internal designs. All with hundreds of illustrations (mainly line drawings). Details include the role of the sun in heating and aging buildings, trusses vs. bearing walls, beams and vaults. He goes into problems as well: overheating, overcooling, leaky roofs and windows, fire safety, noise, and insulation. Since the 1995 edition there have been many environmental concerns. Allen addresses these issues with a copious amount of material on eco-designs and green architecture, sustainable construction, sick building syndrome, recycling and reusing, and new forms of building materials such as cloud gel and transparent ceramics. There is a section on why the World Trade Center collapsed in 2001. And it concludes with a useful glossary.
The first edition was published in 2000. These entries tell the story behind words, names and sayings. The range is from short definitions to more detailed accounts; phrases are likely to be found subsumed under the main word. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable was the first handbook of its type. Under "Golden Gate", Brewer says that it was the name given by Sir Francis Drake to the strait connecting San Francisco Bay with the Pacific. San Francisco was called "The City of the Golden Gate". Oxford merely says that it is a deep channel spanned by the Golden Gate suspension bridge completed in 1937, with no mention of Drake. Brewer's includes "soot suit"; Oxford does not. Brewer's has many more pages, and even a specific 20th century edition. This second edition has trimmed back on biographical entries; it has also extended coverage of the meaning and origins of figurative language. Politics and science are the now the main source of modern words. Words have been drawn from Oxford's amazing database of word resources.
This book was originally published in 1976, edited by the late P.K. Kemp. It has been brought forward to 2005 by I.C.B. Dear, who had nautical background when he became a full-time writer in 1979 specializing in maritime and military history. He has edited several other works for the Oxford family. This book covers aspects of life on and under the sea: terms, oceanography, shipwrecks, shanties, sailors, explorers, maritime inventors, steam, tidal power, marine wildlife, piracy, the East India Company, etc .To the tune of 2600 entries in dictionary arrangement, with appropriate asterisked cross-references. In the thirty years since it was originally published, there have been many maritime issues to be addressed: environmental changes and disasters, global warming, pollution, and recent scholarship. And the book covers them all, particularly global warming, with many contributions from Martin Angel. There are 250 appropriate illustrations (line drawings and photographs). The double-columned pages have larger articles signed by 19 contributors. For example, the section on "shipwrecks" has seven columns covering the environment of the shipwreck, legendary wrecks, warships, cargoes, a study of wrecks to learn about past construction methods and types of ships. There are cross-references to important wrecks which have their own entry (almost two dozen of these). The article finishes with a bibliography. At the end, there is a select index from nouns to main entries, although there are no criteria listed for inclusion.
Robin Lenman, who edited this tome, worked as a lecturer in history at Warwick University. This oversized book is one of a newish series of Oxford Companions emphasizing popular culture; others have been published on Food, Wine, Music and Garden. Lenman has gathered together about 1600 entries from 142 contributors and editors (they are listed with their affiliations). The book, in dictionary arrangement with asterisked cross-references, comprises 800 biographies of photographers and inventors, and 800 entries on history, techniques, movements, styles, and fashion. It is, of course, illustrated with photographs: the iconic and classic, plus others - about 300 in all (50 in colour). The book celebrates the usage of photography in such areas as advertising, astronomy, medicine, sport, food, weddings, erotica, and human celebrations. There are larger features on particular aspects of photography, such as aerial photography, photojournalism, wildlife photography, Adobe Photoshop, optical transfer, and lens development. Throughout it all, there is an acknowledgement that digital imaging is dominating the field. The book concludes with a bibliography, a chronology, a list of Web sites, and an index to people and organizations.
The Empire of Mind: digital piracy and the anti-capitalist
Strangelove is a lecturer in the Department of Communication at
the University of Ottawa. According to the publisher's blurb, we
all need to read this book in order to "Find out why Dr. Strangelove
believes the Internet is a dire threat to capitalism" (who
writes this copy?)
Anyway, he believes that digital piracy
will not be eliminated and that branding and "brand value"
is being eroded. His kernel chapter is "online journalism and
the subversion of commercial news" which is a microcosm for
the arc that the Internet has the potential to undermine the current
economic order. Is the corporate news industry ready to be collapsed?
Is he saying that news is a business on the right wing side of life?
Everything I've read lately says that the media are full of left
wing socialists, and the American establishment is out to kill the
news media because of this communistic pinkie approach. Mmmmm, why
not let the Internet do it for them? Gotcha
The Internet converts private property into public property (but hands up everybody out there who believes that this is "A Bad Thing"?). He presents two case studies which explore the destruction of commercial branding: McDonald's and Barbie. Some of his themes: content and audiences are not being controlled; commercial media is under attack; utopic thinking lies at the roots of Internet culture; blogging is balkanization and blogging is never fact-checked (uh, when was the last time the (commercial-magazine-with-tons-of-ads) New Yorker was fact checked?). Read through the 225 pages of text and the 80 pages of end notes of bibliography and discover for yourself.
Canadian Newspaper Ownership in the Era of Convergence:
rediscovering social responsibility
This is a strange book in authorship. While Soderlund and Hildebrandt
are listed as editors, there is also written involvement with Walter
Romanow and Ronald Wagenberg. All four did the writing, although
Soderlund had a hand in every essay. All save Hildebrandt are now
Professors Emeriti at University of Windsor. At one time they were
active participants in the Windsor Group, and known for their discourses
on newspaper coverage of federal elections, beginning in 1972. Romanow
and Soderlund wrote a text 1992/1996 entitled Media Canada: an
introductory analysis. In many ways, this current book expands
and updates that theme, concentrating on concentration of media
ownership. Parts of chapter one of this current book is based on
that earlier work. By 1996, Conrad Black controlled over half of
the major daily newspapers in Canada, eventually selling them all
to CanWest Global Communications who immediately began exploring
convergence as a business model in order to save money. Changes
have been indicated by two case studies. In Part One of the book,
the first case dealt with "ownership concentration" of
the newspaper chains. In Part Two, the second case dealt with "convergence"
which intensified concentration by consolidating different media
types under one corporate umbrella. There are sections on the CanWest
National Editorial Policy (two policies) and the firing of Russell
Mills. The conclusion deals with ownership rights versus social
responsibility. But still, newspapering is a business: the power
of the press belongs to the person who owns one.
End notes are provided to supplement each chapter. Many tables are provided, on ownership, circulation, content analyses for coverage and evaluation, and the like. There is an extensive bibliography of references but for mainly newspaper articles with some books.
Burton is a published author on broadcast journalism. He is an academic in Cultural Studies at the University of the West of England (Bristol). This is a student text for popular culture and media studies programmes. The topics include a basic introduction to "media" as found in advertising, film, soap operas, women's magazines, sports, popular music, new technology, and globalization. For each topic, Burton presents key concepts and audience appeal, media influence, case studies, major questions for discussion. There is also a quotation from a commentator for discussion purposes (with questions posed by Burton). Everything here has a definition, a context, a relationship to other institutions, an audience, an alternative model, and a government regulation (e.g. British popular music, quite similar to our CanCon). The work concludes with a glossary, a Web site listing (mostly UK), and a bibliography by author (not subject). Specific, additional further readings are at the end of each topic's chapter.
This is the second of three volumes dealing with the history of
publishing in Canada. Volume One covered the period before 1840,
and was indeed concerned more with "the book"; Volume
Two goes to the end of the First World War and embraces more non-traditional
forms such as the periodical press (the post office had improved)
and catalogues. Volume Three, due out in a few more years, will
see "the book" into the 21st century. This is, of course,
a pioneering work which examines the role of print in the political,
religious, intellectual, and cultural life of the colonies, the
Canadian experience, and then the maturing nation. The general editors
are all librarians and/or historians. Les Presses de l'Universite
de Montreal is simultaneously publishing French-language editions
of the books.
Specific chapters are written by contributors: there are 87 signed
chapters covering publishing and culture, the printing trades, authors
and writers, distribution networks, all types of libraries, periodicals
and newspapers, plus social essays on politics and print, religion
and print, fiction and print. And even smaller nuggets such as Liz
Driver's essay on cookbooks, Balfour Halevy's essay on law books,
Bruce Kidd on sports, and Michael Peterman's essay on aspects of
literary authorship. The book is complemented by many illustrations,
end notes, an extensive bibliography of sources cited, notes about
the contributors, and, of course, the huge index.
For more details about the project History of the Book in Canada, do check out the Web site www.hbic.library.utoronto.ca.
This is an adaptation of The Oxford Guide to Style authored by R.R. Ritter and published by Oxford in 2002. It was originally published in 1893 as Hart's Rules for Compositors and Readers at the University Press, and had gone through 39 editions. It is an essential handbook of style for editors, writers, and typesetters. You cannot have too many style books. (Some even get turned into operas, such as Strunk and White in NYC October 2005). The New Hart's Rules is a return to the original name and small handbook format. It is part of a trio, which also includes New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors and New Oxford Spelling Dictionary. Ritter has assembled basic information on publishing terms (parts of the book and copy preparation), punctuation and hyphenation, capitalization, headings and titles, quotations and titles for citations, and bibliographies-notes-indexes for accurate standard referencing. Detail extends to type and font treatments, abbreviations and symbols, languages and legal references, sci-tech terms, tables, lists and illustrations, and proofreading marks.
This book was first published in 2003 as Journalism; Truth or
Dare, and it has been reintroduced into the Very Short Introductions
series. Hargreaves is a professor of journalism at Cardiff University.
Before that he had extensive senior experience in both print and
broadcast journalism. This title is all about gatekeeping in journalism,
yet he doesn't even mention that word (nor "Mr. Gates").
His material covers accountability, ethics, regulation, trust, commercialization,
advertising, corporate ownerships, branding, PR, dumbing down, celebrities,
readership and audience, conscience, free expression and censorship,
electronic publishing, and cultural identity. He believes that journalism
has now moved from being the "first draft of history"
to "cultural dumbing down".
Although he uses examples from everywhere, the book is British-based.
Convergence is not discussed; maybe it didn't hit the UK?