In this encyclopedia, designed for "the educated lay public," more than 400 signed articles produced by 205 expert contributors come in three sizes. The largest articles offer more than 2,000 words of in-depth coverage and historical overview. The medium-sized (1,000-2,000 words) and smaller articles (less than 1,000 words) cover historical figures and more discrete events and topics. The A-Z entries are preceded by a chronology and followed by a selection of almost 150 primary documents ranging from the Confession of St. Patrick (c. 450) to the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (1998)--a real bonus to users. Access is aided by an alphabetical list of entries and a comprehensive index with the main entries in bold type. Twenty-three maps and numerous black-and-white photographs and illustrations accompany the text.
Providing the latest in scholarship, entries are well written and cover the gamut of historical, social, and cultural topics. Long articles, such as Agriculture, Arts, and Home Rule movement and the Irish Parliamentary Party, are divided into chronological subentries. Biographies are limited to the most important figures, such as Maud Gonne, Daniel O'Connell, Charles Stuart Parnell, and Mary Robinson. Each article concludes with a bibliography of additional resources and may also have see also references to other entries and to the primary documents.
For smaller collections, the one-volume Encyclopedia of Ireland (Yale, 2003) or The Encyclopedia of Ireland: An A-Z Guide to Its People, Places, History, and Culture (Oxford, 2000) may provide sufficient coverage. Encyclopedia of Irish History and Culture would make a good purchase for a public library with clients interested in Ireland and is a must purchase for academic libraries serving both graduate and undergraduate students. Abbie Vestal Landry
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