MacMillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery - 2 volume set

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9780028646077: MacMillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery - 2 volume set

Provides an historical and cultural overview of slavery around the world. This work includes the stories and cultures of the individuals involved, its complex history and its colossal impact. It covers history and legislation to art, music and literature, and religious perspectives.

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From Booklist:

Designed for a wide audience, from high-schoolers and general readers to students at the undergraduate and graduate level to professional historians, this work strives to cover "all aspects of the history of human slavery." Its 550 alphabetically arranged entries provide geographical, historical, legal, biographical, cultural, social, and religious perspective. Examples of entries include abolition and antislavery movements; ancient Rome; concubinage; Equiano, Olaudah; Japan; literature of slavery; Louisiana; plantations; Quakers; Thomas Aquinas; utopias and slavery; Vesey Rebellion (1822); and wet nurses.

Numerous contributors, all with academic affiliations, wrote the entries, which vary in length from a few paragraphs to more than 40 pages. Longer entries are generally divided into sections. Law, for example, is divided into articles on law and slavery in different societies, from the Ancient Middle East to the U.S. Entries conclude with a list of mostly scholarly titles, many of which are also cited in the general bibliography. Preceding the A^-Z section are 25 maps, and black-and-white photographs and illustrations supplement the text. An alphabetical list of entries appears at the beginning of volume 1, and a topical list of entries appears in an appendix, along with a time line. Navigation is further aided by an index and cross-references. At least one cross-reference is inaccurate. There is a see reference from branding and branding irons to the entry badges of slavery, but badges of slavery never mentions branding. Rather, it discusses the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, which not only outlawed slavery but also gave Congress the power via legislation to eliminate civil constraints or "badges of slavery" for freed slaves. Branding is discussed, however, in the entry discipline and punishment.

This resource has the decided disadvantage of appearing on the heels of another reference work on slavery, ABC-CLIO's Historical Guide to World Slavery [RBB My 1 98]. Both have similar titles, both appear in two volumes, and both treat slavery in its global and historical context. Entries in both titles are arranged alphabetically, signed by the scholars who wrote them, and conclude with supplemental bibliographies. Although coverage in both is quite similar, there are important differences. ABC-CLIO, with approximately 100 more entries, tends to cover more specific topics in shorter articles. A good example is its discussion of abolition, which is spread across a number of separate entries; Macmillan has one long article, abolition and anti-slavery movements. Macmillan takes the in-depth approach with other topics as well. The entry Africa is 25 pages; ABC-CLIO covers it in two. Both sets have entries not found in the other. In ABC-CLIO one finds enconmiendo, Gullah, Harpers Ferry raid, Hittite code, Juneteenth, Nashoba Plantation, occupations, serfdom in medieval Europe, and Peru. In Macmillan, one finds gladiators, Hinduism, Maori, overseers, Philippines, reparations, and spirituals. ABC-CLIO has entries for many more people than Macmillan; Macmillan has entries for almost 40 U.S. states. Macmillan generally has more coverage of cultural topics, in entries such as film and television, slavery in; music by slaves; and the 12-page literature of slavery, a topic to which ABC-CLIO devotes two pages. The Macmillan article on slavery and Nazism is longer than that in ABC-CLIO, and includes a more scholarly list of references.

As stated in the preface, "For most Americans, `slavery' evokes an image of black bondsmen, white masters, and cotton fields." Both of these encyclopedias demonstrate that slavery extends far beyond the North American experience. Because each set covers many topics not found in the other, larger libraries should have both. With its generally shorter articles and many biographical entries, the ABC-CLIO set might be a better choice for high-school libraries. The more scholarly Macmillan encyclopedia is recommended for public and academic libraries.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 9 Up-Admirably comprehensive and scholarly, and splendidly organized, this encyclopedia surveys slavery throughout the world and reflects the most recent research on its many aspects, past and present. Similar in purpose, structure, and layout to Junius P. Rodriguez's The Historical Encyclopedia of World Slavery (ABC-CLIO, 1998), this publication has several features that make it easier to use than that resource. An alphabetical list of entries at the beginning of volume one and a synoptic or topical outline of entries at the end of the second volume make searching for specific information comparatively easy. The 25 excellent outline maps of world slavery and many small photos, prints, and art reproductions enhance the text. Both sets offer an impressive list of academic contributors, a lengthy bibliography, and detailed index. While many subjects are effectively covered in both encyclopedias, the Macmillan editors have chosen more inclusive topics, grouping several essays under general headings such as "Abolition and Anti-Slavery Movements," "Christianity," "Historiography of Slavery," and "Law." It is also helpful to find the writers in this encyclopedia listed with the entry titles for which they are responsible. Altogether, the Macmillan work is better organized and is recommended as a first purchase or as a valuable complement to Rodriguez's book.
Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Published by Macmillan Reference USA (1998)
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