Amanda B. Johnson, Institutional Advancement, publishes book review

10/31/2013

Contributed by Amanda Johnson

The following review appeared in the November 2013 issue of CHOICE:
St. James encyclopedia of popular culture, ed. by Thomas Riggs.  2nd ed.  Gale, part of Cengage Learning, 2013.

The following review appeared in the November 2013 issue of CHOICE.

This second edition (1st ed., ed. by Tom Pendergast and Sara Pendergast, CH, Jul'00, 37-6042) features 2,700 updated entries and 300-plus new entries.  Overall, more than 3,000 alphabetically arranged topics are included, with subheadings, cross-references, and short bibliographies.  Included are a time frame index for topics from 1900 to the present, a subject index, and a general bibliography to supplement entries' bibliographies.  Brief profiles of contributors provide book titles or media outlets where they have been published.  The Encyclopedia covers entertainment media (TV, film, and radio; examples include film star Ingrid Bergman, the game show Jeopardy!, and commentator Rachel Maddow), and cultural touch points and controversies, with entries including "Abortion" and "Gay and Lesbian Marriage."  Also covered are music (e.g., LL Cool J); art; books and magazines; sports such as aerobics; and social life, including fashion fads such as zoot suits.  The Encyclopedia's coverage of topics is readable but not simplistic, making it useful for large public library reference collections and appropriate for college-level researchers and above.  It provides a strong introduction to many popular culture topics, with the exception of the most recent ones, for which web searches and magazine articles will prove more useful (e.g., the meanings of 2012's jelly "sex" bracelets, and the popularity of the British TV series Downton Abbey).  Summing Up: Recommended.  Lower-division undergraduates through graduate students; general readers. -- A. B. Johnson, Ithaca College

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