Censorship: A World Encyclopedia

ISBN 13: 9781579581350

Censorship: A World Encyclopedia

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9781579581350: Censorship: A World Encyclopedia
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First published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

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This work provides a wide-ranging view of censorship, spanning ancient Egypt to present times and covering art, literature, music, newspapers and broadcasting, and the visual arts, among many other topics. In addition, the work provides country surveys and discussions of major controversies for specific movies, books, and television shows. Some 1,550 entries, arranged in alphabetical order by subject, were written by about 600 contributors from 50 countries. Entries are enhanced by occasional illustrations, a name-subject index, and an alphabetical and thematic list of entries at the beginning of each volume.

The editor offers a broad--even elastic--definition of censorship to cover "formal and informal, overt and covert" methods by which "restrictions are imposed on the collection, display, dissemination and exchange of information." The set especially aims to provide a comparative study of the topic, an approach not taken in the few other reference works on censorship. Readers will find an enormous amount of useful and unique information--censorship in Iceland, suppression of a Kyrgyz folk epic, the banning of Mahler's music, and the influence of Red Channels, a newsletter that blacklisted individuals during the McCarthy era, to give just a few examples. Each entry concludes with a list of further reading, and in many cases these readings will help broaden one's understanding of the topics being discussed. An exception is the bibliography following the entry on Columbia University professor Edward Said, which suffers from omission of two well-publicized works containing critical comment about him.

With so many contributors, it is inevitable that inconsistencies would arise regarding the comparative length of entries. For a U.S. audience, treatment of some topics that have received substantial U.S. press coverage, such as Hate speech, might seem too brief at just over a page, especially when there is half a page devoted to Ice-T in New Zealand. Access can be a problem--a reader will only come across the discussion of the controversy over public television's airing of the documentary Days of Rage: The Young Palestinians by looking in the entry for Jo Franklin Trout, the program's director, because Days of Rage is not listed in the index.

Questions about balance in what is included and what is omitted are inescapable in a multivolume encyclopedia, especially when it deals with so many controversial topics. The Encyclopedia of Censorship (Facts On File, 1990) is the most similar work, but entries there are usually very cursory and always unsourced. Because of its broad coverage, Censorship: A World Encyclopedia is recommended for large academic and major public libraries. RBB
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Review:

"Satisfies the need for a current resource on the subject as new technologies give rise to new forms of censorship.... Recommended for all academic libraries."
-"Choice
"Everything that's ever been forbidden falls under the wider interpretation of censorship used in this impressive--both in size and scope, and in execution--four-volume encyclopedia.... The entries are scholarly and lengthy, giving readers sufficient historical background to provide ample context for the policies or events of censorship they document."
-"Reference & Research Book News

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