Appeared in Library Journal on 2009-09-01:
At five volumes, this is possibly the largest publication in Berkshire's history. Arranged alphabetically, the nearly 1000 articles cover an extensive array of subjects as they relate to China. Among those explored are the country's history (both ancient and modern), politicians, architecture, food, international relations, and medicine. Varying in length from one to more than ten pages, the articles are thorough without being overly complicated. Titles are printed in English, Chinese, and a transliterated pronunciation of the Chinese word. The editors appear to have delivered on a promise in the introduction to minimize the cultural bias about various subjects. Most of the 300-plus contributors come from a variety of academic fields. One drawback is that the first page of each article has its text printed over a grayscale picture. Although attractive, this feature sometimes makes the pages difficult to read. Bottom Line This insightful analysis of China may be a useful companion to David Levinson and Karen Christensen's Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. It could provide valuable information to anyone studying the country and is thus recommended to all public or academic institutions with an interest in China. [Purchasers of the print set get a free one-year individual license (or comparable discount from the institutional license) to a digital edition hosted by ExactEditions.com.]-James Langan, Univ. of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Lib. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2010-01-01:
This encyclopedia features 800 entries by 296 authors covering contemporary and historical Chinese topics. The encyclopedia's breadth of coverage and size--2,665 pages in five volumes--distinguish it from competing reference works. The historical and biographical entries cover the full span of Chinese history, although the 19th and 20th centuries receive the fullest coverage, and the encyclopedia devotes substantial coverage to contemporary society, technology, and the environment. Most of the authors hold academic affiliations, and leading experts have written some of the entries. Entries stretch from brief biographical synopses to topical essays of several thousand words. The entries vary widely in quality. Some are tightly written surveys of their subjects (E. N. Anderson's article "Cuisines" is a standout); others are elementary and lack coherence.Each entry includes a Chinese translation of its title in both pinyin romanization and simplified Chinese characters. The romanization includes tone marks, which will be a great boon to students learning Chinese. The thorough index does an excellent job of connecting references to topics scattered among many entries, but the entries themselves contain no cross-references and the contents of related entries often overlap. Illustrations appear on nearly every page, but the images chosen are often of limited relevance to the entries, and the entry texts almost never reference them. The maps included provide insufficient detail. This encyclopedia provides rudimentary introductions suitable to undergraduates at the initial stages of research. The "further readings" included with each entry will be of mixed usefulness; many refer readers only to Chinese-language sources, which will likely be inaccessible to the target audience. Individual purchasers of the print set receive a free one-year license to a digital edition, and libraries receive a discount on the institutional license that is equivalent to the individual discount. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates. B. T. Vivier Yale University