St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture: 5 Volume Set

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9781558628472: St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture: 5 Volume Set
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The St. James Encyclopedia Of Popular Culture, 2nd ed., updates and augments the over ten-year-old first edition. It includes 3,036 signed essays (300 of them new), alphabetically arranged, and written or reviewed by subject experts and edited to form a consistent, readable, and straightforward reference. The entries cover topics and persons in major areas of popular culture: film; music; print culture; social life; sports; television and radio; and art and performance (which include theater, dance, stand-up comedy, and other live performance). The entries analyze each topic or person's significance in and relevance to American popular culture; in addition to basic factual information, readers will gain perspective on the cultural context in which the topic or person has importance.

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About the Author:

Thomas Riggs is the owner of TRC (Thomas Riggs & Company, Thomas Riggs and Company), a book developer and publisher in Missoula, Montana. TRC has won numerous awards, including Booklist Editors' Choice and the American Library Association's RUSA. Thomas Riggs lives in Nice, France.

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*Starred Review* The St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture is back! This second edition updates the 2,700 previous entries from the 2000 edition, and adds an additional 300 drawn from the intervening years. As Jim Cullen states in the revised introduction to the set, entitled “The Art of Everyday Life,” although popular culture is not an “American invention,” nowhere else has it been “central to a notion of national character at home as well as abroad.” The entries in these volumes are representative of the cultural symbols that shape not only how we see ourselves but how we are seen throughout the world.Each solidly bound volume is prefaced by a comprehensive list of entries and includes both vibrant color and black-and-white captioned photos. The coverage of American pop culture feels all-inclusive, ranging across the fields of film, music, sports, television, radio, and art. Individual entries range in length from a short paragraph (for subjects such as Shelley Long and Guardian Angels) to a few pages (for big names, such as Marlon Brando, and important general terms, including College football and Rock and roll). Examples of other entries include such people as Judd Apatow, John Coltrane, and Annie Leibovitz; books and movies as disparate as On the Road and The Terminator; and events, including Stonewall rebellion and Y2K. Each individually signed entry includes see also terms and a brief bibliography. Longer entries feature subcategories, such as those included with Gangs (e.g., “Origins: New York City”; “Immigration and Gang Diversification and Growth”; “Gangs in/as Mass Culture”; and “‘Gangstas’: Drugs and Guns”). The writing is consistently solid throughout, with a style that is suitable for audiences of both the high-school and college level.The set concludes with 245 pages of indexes, including both a “time-frame,” which ranges by decade, and a more general subject index as well as a “Reading List,” which includes works dealing with the academic study of popular culture. This set deserves a spot in all collections supporting the arts. Public and high-school library collections owning the first edition will want to consider this as a replacement. --Brian Odom

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