v26 #7 From the Reference Desk

by | Feb 22, 2016 | 0 comments

by Tom Gilson  (Associate Editor, Against the Grain, and Head of Reference Emeritus, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29401)

Issues in U.S. Immigration (2015, 978-1-61925-708-5; $295) is a second edition of a set originally published in 2006 by Salem Press.  Once again edited by Carl L. Bankston III and Danielle Hidalgo of Tulane University, this updated two-volume set deals with a subject that seems to be perennially in the news.  Consisting of 215 essays, this reference attempts to supply both historical context for a recurring theme in the American story as well as discussion of the contemporary issues that make it relevant today.

As is typical of Salem Press publications each entry follows a similar structure starting with a definition of the topic, a list of the issues related to the topic, its overall significance followed by a discussion of relevant background and salient facts.  Many of the essays deal with specific immigrant groups ranging from the earlier European immigrants like the Irish, German, and Italian to the more recent arrivals like the Hmong, Nigerian, Haitian, and Pakistani.  Of course, there are also numerous entries that cover a variety of subjects from border control to nativism and family issues to racism as well as entries that discuss specific court cases, law enforcement concerns and demographics.  As such, specific articles cover topics as diverse as bilingual education, citizenship, the DREAM act, European immigrant literature, Haitian boat people, international adoptions, machine politics, refugee fatigue, and undocumented workers.

Admittedly, in many ways Issues in U.S. Immigration is a compilation.  As the editors acknowledge, a number of the essays have been drawn from other Salem Press publications but have been updated for this new edition as necessary.  However, 75 of the entries are new to this set as is a 100 page, 41 table section of immigration statistics from the Department of Homeland Security.  The essays are written in a style that is accessible to high school students as well as undergraduates while also appealing to the interested layman.  The entries are concise and factual ranging in length according to topic relevance.  Each has a useful bibliography and “see also” references while a number of black and white illustrations and photos complement the overall text.  Access to specific subjects is provided by an alphabetical list of contents, a subject index and a detailed Category Index of Topics that list entries under one or more of 37 categories.  Value-added features include a historic timeline and the 100 pages of statistics mentioned above, not to mention a separate section called U.S. State Briefs that consists of entries covering the immigration history and current developments for each state as well as for New York City and Washington DC.  These entries also include a brief statistical profile for the state being discussed.

Issues in U.S. Immigration will be a welcome addition to high school and undergraduate collections as well as some public libraries where immigration is a topic of interest.  Both upper level high school students and undergraduates will find it valuable as a background source on key issues as well as a useful tool for research paper topic selection.  Lay readers will appreciate its brief and fact driven approach when becoming more familiar with topics of personal concern.


Hispanic American Leadership: A Concise Reference Guide (2015, 978-0990730026, $130) is another title in the leadership series recently published by Mission Bell Media.  Edited by Victor Rodriguez of the department of Chicano and Latino Studies at California State, this book attempts to “provide accessible and accurate information about leadership issues and cultural competency related to Hispanic-Americans.”

As one examines this volume it becomes obvious that like the other titles in the series, it is not simply a how-to-manual on developing leadership skills.  Rather, it is a reference that focuses on leadership issues and concerns as reflected in the Hispanic American experience.  Admittedly, there are articles on topics directly related to leadership like those covering education for leadership, cultural diversity and leadership, and leadership in business.  However, many of the articles treat broader topics that touch on leadership issues within the Hispanic American community, including those on assimilation and acculturation, the glass ceiling, stereotypes about Hispanic Americans, racial and ethnic discrimination and entrepreneurs.  In addition, there are articles on numerous organizations and institutions ranging from the Catholic Church to the Lambda Theta Alpha sorority to the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.  And attesting to the diversity of the Hispanic American community itself, there are 16 entries that cover a variety of national origins and cultures from Argentinian Americans to Mexican Americans to Venezuelan Americans.

The articles are academic and informed by recent scholarship but reader-friendly and accessible offering a balance of factual description and solid analysis.  As you would expect, each entry is signed and has “see also” references and a list of further readings.  The volume also has a cumulative resource guide and an easy to use and well-designed general index.  And, as in all of the other titles in this series, Hispanic American Leadership includes the 200-page Leadership Glossary edited by Dr. Jeni McRay.  (This supplement has also been published separately under the title Leadership Glossary: Essential Terms for the 21st Century (2015, 978-0-9907300-0-2, $29.95.)

Hispanic American Leadership: A Concise Reference Guide is a title that should appeal to both academic and larger public libraries.  It provides relevant information on a topic of growing interest in a well-designed, easy to navigate reference.  It will not only fit in collections on leadership studies but should also be of interest to libraries building minority and ethnic studies collections.  In addition, it is one of those titles that could find a place in either reference or circulating collections depending on need.  This work, as well as others in the series, is available electronically via Credo Reference at http://corp.credoreference.com/.



Extra Servings

SAGE has published some recent titles including:

  • The SAGE Encyclopedia of Economics and Society – 4 volumes (Dec. 2015, ISBN: 9781452226439, $650) is edited by Frederick F. Wherry and “explicitly approaches economics through varied disciplinary lenses. Although there are encyclopedias of covering economics (especially classic economic theory and history), the SAGE Encyclopedia of Economics and Society emphasizes the contemporary world, contemporary issues, and society…”
  • The SAGE Encyclopedia of Pharmacology and Society (Dec. 2015, ISBN: 9781483350004, $585) is edited by Sarah E. Boslaugh and “explores the social and policy sides of the pharmaceutical industry and its pervasive influence in society. While many technical STM works explore the chemistry and biology of pharmacology and an equally large number of clinically oriented works focus on use of illegal drugs, substance abuse, and treatment, there is virtually nothing on the immensely huge business (“Big Pharma”) of creating, selling, consuming, and regulating legal drugs…”

Oxford University Press has also published two new titles:

  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and the Arts – 2 volumes (Nov. 2015, ISBN: 9780199846511, $395) edited by Timothy Beal is “an in-depth, comprehensive reference work that covers the cultural history of biblical texts, themes, characters, images, and the Bible itself in the literary, visual, and musical arts. Appearing in response to the shifting landscape of biblical studies over the last decade, OEBART embraces the broadest possible definition of ‘interpretation,’ one that includes a cultural-historical perspective…”
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in Contemporary Politics, Law, and Social Movement – 2 volumes (Oct, 2015, ISBN: 9780199744619, $395) is edited by Suzanne Oboler and Deena J. González and “provides a comprehensive source of information on the diverse historical and contemporary experiences of Latinos and Latinas in the United States … addresses the significant ways in which the Latino and Latina populations have shaped the political, legal, and social institutions of the United States, with new and updated scholarship on political movements and organizations, important legal cases, minority-rights laws, and immigration legislation…”

Salem Press has a few new titles in the works:

  • Great Lives in American History: American Women – 3 volumes (March 2016, ISBN: 978-1-61925-944-7; e-ISBN: 978-1-61925-945-4, $395) “This new addition to the Great Lives from History series features over 700 essays on women from the seventeenth through the early twenty-first centuries. Many individuals included in this multi-volume set have never been covered in this series before, notable for their work in such fields as politics, civil rights, literature, education, journalism, science, business, and sports…”
  • Principles of Chemistry (March 2016, ISBN: 978-1-61925-501-2; e-ISBN: 978-1-61925-502-9, $165) “provides students and researchers with an easy-to-understand introduction to the fundamentals of chemistry, from elements and molecules to chemical reactions and properties of matter… This new resource introduces students and researchers to the fundamentals of chemistry. Entries are written in easy-to-understand language, so readers can use these entries as a solid starting off point to develop a thorough understanding of this often time confusing subject matter…”
  • Music Innovators – 3 volumes (May 2016, ISBN: 978-1-61925-896-9; e-ISBN: 978-1-61925-897-6, $195) offers “biographies of over 350 individuals who had an innovative and influential impact on the development and evolution of the modern music industry… Each of these extended biographies offers concise and informative top matter that includes an introductory summary of the person’s significance; birth and death dates and places; and specialty fields. Biographies represent a strong, global, cross-gender focus, and each biography offers a sidebar focusing on the group(s)/achievement(s) for which the subject is best known…”

ABC-CLIO has a couple of new titles as well including:

  • Asian American Religious Cultures (Sept. 2015, ISBN: 978-1-59884-330-9, $189; eISBN: 978-1-59884-331-6, call for pricing) edited by Jonathan H. X. Lee, et al. “examines the diversity of the Asian American and Pacific Islander spiritual experience… The coverage includes not only traditional eastern belief systems and traditions such as Buddhism, Confucianism, and Hinduism as well as Micronesian and Polynesian religious traditions in the United States, but also the culture and religious rituals of Asian American Christians…”
  • American Indian Culture: From Counting Coup to Wampum (Sept. 2015, ISBN: 978-1-4408-2873-7, $189; eISBN 978-1-4408-2874-4, call for pricing) edited by Bruce E. Johansen “provides a comprehensive historical and demographic overview of American Indians along with more than 100 cross-referenced entries on American Indian culture, exploring everything from arts, literature, music, and dance to food, family, housing, and spirituality… Examples of topics covered include icons of Native culture, such as pow wows, Indian dancing, and tipi dwellings; Native art forms such as pottery, rock art, sandpainting, silverwork, tattooing, and totem poles; foods such as corn, frybread, and wild rice;  and Native Americans in popular culture…”


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