November 21, 2017

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Nutrition, Social Deviance, and Political Controversy | Reference

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Albala, Ken, ed. From Famine to Fast Food: Nutrition, Diet, and Concepts of Health Around the World. 293p. ebook available. index. photos. Greenwood. 2014. Tr $37. ISBN 9781610697439. LC 2014000623.

Gr 8 Up –Albala and 100-plus contributors have taken on the ambitious task of compiling a listing of information related to nutrition, diet, and health around the world, addressing facets, such as culture, beliefs, and religion that affect the dynamics of nations’ general well-being. The authors strive to address how readers can help alleviate hunger and malnutrition beyond hand-outs and to encourage leaders to make informed policy decisions. The material is arranged by continent and then in alphabetical order by nation. Each entry begins with statistics, such as population, life expectancy, and percent of the population that has access to safe drinking water. Next comes material on eating habits and diets. Important health concerns are mentioned and include topics such as malnourishment, obesity levels, vitamins, and saturated fat levels, how foods or herbs are used for medicinal reasons, and how religion impacts the general consumption of the population. Some entries contain black-and-white photos or a recipe to make a traditional entrée, but they are few and far between. This title is a solid starting point for research on geographical, culinary, or cultural information on many countries. However, most users will need to look to other sources for further content. Ken Albala’s Food Cultures of the World (Greenwood, 2011) would be a great pairing.–Jane Hebert, Glenside Public Library District, Glendale Heights, IL

Forsyth, Craig J. & Heith Copes, eds. Encyclopedia of Social Deviance. 2 vols. 864p. bibliog. index. SAGE. 2014. Tr $350. ISBN 9781452240336. LC 2013029359.

Gr 12 Up –The editors of this niche reference work have collected more than 300 essays written by social science scholars from around the world. These offerings cover a wide range of topics relating to definitions and theories of deviance and deviant behaviors themselves, as well as the methodologies used to study these issues. There are no illustrations or graphs, but the set does provide a truly all-encompassing look at what might pass for deviant behavior. Entries on fetishes and cults are included, as are essays on the Tea Party and veganism. Researchers will find substantive information on these various topics, as well as support materials, while casual readers can learn about what motivates dogfighting advocates and computer hackers. The articles are well written and accessible enough for the uninitiated. The “See Also” sections, substantive index, and readers’ guide of topics are also very helpful. Overall, the book will make a solid addition to any college library that offers social science courses.–Carol Fazioli, Barth Elementary School, Pottstown, PA

Gifford, Clive. Kingfisher Soccer Encyclopedia. 3rd ed. 144p. Kingfisher. 2014. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9780753471678.

Gr 5-8 –Soccer fans will enjoy this encyclopedic glimpse at their favorite sport, written by an author well known in the field. Chapters cover rules, skills, and popular players. Gifford updates his books every couple of years, so readers should be aware that this edition went to press before the 2014 World Cup results, with Germany winning in Brazil. There is no mention of the issues in Brazil, such as the safety problems or Luis Suárez biting an Italian player’s ear in a game. Many chapters and colorful photographs are repeated from the previous years’ editions. However, libraries that need a single-volume overview, rather than a set that separates out information over several titles, should go with Gifford’s book.–Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA

Hunter, Tammy M. I Know About!: Children’s Picture Dictionary. 32p. (World of Wonder). illus. photos. Flowerpot. 2014. Tr $7.99. ISBN 9781486700400.

K-Gr 2 –Billing itself as a guide to help emergent readers with “phonemic awareness,” this full-color book misses the mark in many ways—especially when there are many better options available. This collection of about 1,234 words contains some random selections: it includes appropriate basic words for the target age group as well as more unusual choices (“govern,” “fierce,” “industry,” “opera,” and “vacant,” as well as “wife” but not “husband”). The images are lacking, too. Most of the photos are stock, and some are quite silly or odd (a most unusual looking king, a battered recipe box). Parts of speech are identified, and the phonemic pronunciation is mostly accurate, but the book does not include stress marks to indicate syllable emphasis.–Sharon Verbeten, Brown County Library, Green Bay, WI

redstarLeeming, David A. The Handy Mythology Answer Book. 400p. bibliog. glossary. index. photos. Visible Ink. 2014. pap. $21.95. ISBN 9781578594757; ebk. ISBN 9781578595228. LC 2014013298.

Gr 6 Up –This guide to mythology is everything the title promises and more. After an introduction setting out the book’s goals and an initial chapter outlining a working definition of mythology, Leeming delves into the mythological traditions across the world (which include African, Asian, Polynesian, Cletiv, Greek, Roman, and Native American), one chapter at a time. These traditions are covered in great detail, and the author examines the geography, history, and culture associated with them and highlights important figures and tales. There is a great emphasis on the influence of psychology on the study of mythology. Early on, the author discusses the work of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Joseph Campbell and how they brought the importance of mythology into academic circles. Leeming concludes by discussing the idea of the monomyth, or Campbell’s concept that there are certain motifs and themes that are common to many traditions and that transcend individual cultures. The glossary, index, and bibliography make this volume an excellent reference source, and the appendix takes it further, offering lists of characters and stories that fall under categories such as “The Great Earth Mother Goddess” and “The Hero Quest” and the pages where readers can find them. This title is an ideal starting point for reports as well as an entertaining and informative read for interested students.–Heather Talty, formerly at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City

Mancall, Peter C. American Eras: Westward Expansion (1800-1860). 384p. (American Eras). bibliog. chron. further reading. index. maps. notes. photos. reprods. websites. Gale Cengage. 2014. Tr $193. ISBN 9781414498263. LC 2013035255.

Gr 9 Up –This collection of primary sources reveals the 19th-century American fascination with the West and explains how the westward movement affected white and nonwhite ethnic groups, including Native Americans, blacks, and others. Thematic chapter topics mirror those in Gale’s similarly titled American Eras: Westward Expansion (1999), including the arts, business, communication, education, government, religion, and science and technology. However, while the earlier title was a look at the history of the movement, this work is comprised of primary sources, including reproductions of art and advertisements, songs and poetry, readings drawn from published and unpublished letters, accounts, reports, legislation and court opinions, and treaties. There is considerable information about Texas and California, both magnets for migration and sources of domestic and foreign conflict and tensions between settlers and Native peoples. Chapters begin with a general overview and chronology, and each entry identifies the primary source and its author or creator, places it into context, and objectively discusses its significance. The primary sources, many excerpts, are often less than a page, and the entries conclude with a list of additional print and electronic resources. Well-chosen period photos and illustrations enhance the text, and the index is comprehensive. This book’s main strength is its first-hand accounts that show how the westward movement was a dominant aspect of American life, driven by popular certainty in America’s Manifest Destiny and public perception of unlimited economic opportunities, missionary and reform impulses, and innovations that conquered the West’s vast distances,. It is a solid companion to Gale’s American Eras: Westward Expansion and a supplemental choice for libraries that don’t have it.–Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO

Newton, David. Science and Political Controversy: A Reference Handbook. 332p. chron. further reading. glossary. index. websites. ABC-CLIO. 2014. lib. ed. $58. ISBN 9781610693196. LC 2013048129.

Gr 8 Up –Though his base premise—that science and politics exist in “virtually constant conflict in the modern world”—is arguable, Newton assembles a useful, if one-sided, overview of areas, past and present, in which the two have clashed. He also includes profiles of polarizing figures and scientific organizations, from Plato and Todd “legitimate rape” Akin to the Union of Concerned Scientists (a nonprofit science advocacy organization); a gathering of relevant documents and transcripts; and a large, annotated list of resources for further investigation. In the opening chapters, the author tracks ideological conflicts from the ancient world through the (comparable, he notes) examples of Galileo’s trial and J. Robert Oppenheimer’s security hearings to the more recent debates around sex education, marijuana legalization, and climate change. Several writers then weigh in with largely pro-science essays on specific bones of contention, such as stem-cell research, in a “Perspectives” chapter. Following the alphabetically arranged biographies, the “Data and Documents” section offers a few perfunctory statistics and selected extracts from provocative legislation, government reports, and legal opinions. Finally, the annotations accompanying the print and Web resources in the ensuing chapter will give students solid leads for further research. Science gets more positive play here than politics—faith-based or otherwise—but readers looking for historical and current points of friction between the two will find it a serviceable guide.–John Peters, Children’s Literature Consultant, New York City

Omidvar, Iraj & Anne R. Richards, eds. Muslims and American Popular Culture: Entertainment and Digital Culture; Print Culture and Identity. 2 vol. 435p. index. notes. Praeger. Feb. 2015. Tr $131. ISBN 9780313379628; ebk. $131. ISBN 9780313379635. LC 2013024321.

Gr 12 Up –Offering a wide range of information without sacrificing depth, this set examines the ways that Islam and Muslims are depicted in American pop culture. The first volume tackles the entertainment industry, addressing comedy and theater, television, film, popular fiction and poetry, music, and digital culture. The second volume deals with print material and identity in Islam, covering black Muslims, journalism and digital media, societal trends and issues, Islamic-influenced architecture, and memoirs. Chapters are comprised of essays written by a variety of professionals—academics, librarians, grad students, and a couple of ethnomusicologists, all of whom bear impressive, relevant credentials. Many of the essays tie in with 21st-century mainstream news items, such as how the events of September 11, 2001, affected the American perspective of the Muslim faith (“‘There’s Nothing Funny About Your People’: Muslim-American Humor in the Post-9/11 World”) and the furor over UNC-Chapel Hill students being required to read the Qur’an (“Reading the Qur’an in College: the Chapel Hill Tempest”). Some essays take on subjects that relate to a specialized field of interest (“The Influence of Muslims and Islam in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Comics” and “Mosques in Minnesota”). The scholarly writing style and the presumption that readers have a solid understanding of major historical and current events make this unique set too advanced for most high schools but ideal for colleges and universities. Illuminating and timely.–Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC

Pope, Jim, ed. I Know About!: The Young People’s Atlas of the World. illus. by Stephen Sweet. 32p. (Wow!). index. Flowerpot. 2014. Tr $7.99. ISBN 9781770939318.

Gr 2-4 –This slim, unintimidating volume is a serviceable, if flawed, first atlas for students just learning about maps. The book begins with six sections discussing geographical features, such as forests, deserts, and mountains, and then moves into nine spreads of maps focusing on different parts of the world. Each full-color map points out physical features, flags, national capitals, major cities, and illustrations that “highlight a few cultural, economic, and political points of interest.” These illustrations, unfortunately, are offered without captions or context and present little in the way of useful information. Lack of context is a problem overall: the first page of the book starts with “Rivers, Lakes, and Swamps” without explaining what an atlas is. Some of the graphic references are also confusing; for example, under “Mountains,” text refers to an image of Mount St. Helens without indicating which of the several pictures portrays the landmark. A foldout showing large maps of the world is a useful addition, but its placement, smack in the middle of the “North America” spread, is confusing and makes it difficult to see the map. National Geographic Kids Beginner’s World Atlas (National Geographic, 2011) is a much more appealing and user-friendly option for this age group.–Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD

Silinsky, Mark. The Taliban: Afghanistan’s Most Lethal Insurgents. 263p. (PSI Guides to Terrorists, Insurgents, and Armed Groups). bibliog. index. maps. notes. photos. Praeger. 2014. Tr $52. ISBN 9780313398971; ebk. ISBN 9780313398988.

Gr 10 Up –Written by an Army intelligence veteran, this work tackles a difficult subject, balancing factual reporting, emotionally charged narratives, basic background information, and deeper explorations of conflict and ideologies. The book covers the origin of the Taliban, its rise to power and decline, and its current status, as well as the security conditions in Afghanistan. The content is well researched, gives relevant historical context and background of the extremist policies of the Taliban, and describes atrocities committed by terrorists and Americans and resistance to the Taliban. The occasionally dry tone is balanced by short, descriptive profiles of different people, such as a comedian who resisted oppression with humor. There are many individuals, groups, and concepts mentioned in each chapter, which can make the narrative challenging to follow, but this is mitigated by the inclusion of charts that clearly breakdown the structure of Taliban organizations, ideologies, and phases of warfare. The author has a military background, which provides insight and makes this book far less alarmist than The World Almanac of Islamism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2011). The handful of images includes evocative sketches and a map of the region. The content is general enough for casual reading, and an extensive compilation of notes and a strong bibliography make it a great resource for research. Overall, this is a well-organized, valuable work.–Susanne Caro, University of Montana Library, Missoula

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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