The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know (repost)

ISBN: 0618226478

Category: Nonfiction

Tag: Encyclopedias


Posted on 2012-12-12. By anonymous.

Description


E. D. Hirsch, Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil, "The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know"
2002 | ISBN: 0618226478, 0965766438 | 672 pages | PDF | 14,1 MB

From Publishers Weekly
This third edition of the 1988 reference, full of the same back-to-basics philosophy of the earlier volumes, promises to once again serve as a lightning rod for lively discussion. Divided into chapters such as "The Bible" (the editors point out that, regardless of one's religion, it is impossible to be culturally literate without some Biblical knowledge, just as one needs to know the Koran to be literate in Arab culture), "Technology," "Idioms," "World Geography," "Mythology and Folklore" (which includes everything from Medusa to Mickey Mouse) and "Literature in English," the book is a compendium of thumbnail definitions of the bedrock items that make up society.

This latest volume includes about 500 (out of nearly 7,000) new entries, 200 of which are in the science and technology chapters. Other entries have been revised and updated. It's entertaining, snappily written, extremely handy and reasonably inclusive (although there are bound to be readers who will find issue with Hirsch's well-known conservative ideologies). Although the book will be a godsend for home schoolers and teachers looking to give students a basic reference, ultimately it may be seen as a giant list, along the same lines as the much-debated list of essential literature that Harold Bloom included in The Western Canon. Arguments over it will probably not center on its stylistics, but on who or what the editors consider essential e.g., Allen Ginsburg made the cut; Jack Kerouac did not.

From Library Journal
Initially published in 1988 and revised in 1993, this book is given an exciting update whose 6900 entries include 1000 revised entries and 500 new ones, 200 of which are in science and technology alone. Given the book's aim to define "common cultural knowledge rather than to present a lexicon of words or topics," a revision was sorely needed; when the second edition appeared, almost no one knew what a web page was. The text is divided into sections by subject-e.g., fine arts, world politics, life sciences-each with a brief introduction; access is also aided by a thorough index. The entries themselves are complete, concise, and clearly written as well as extensively and effectively cross-referenced. All that need be said about this first-rate reference is that it is well written, well researched, and well worth the money. Students, general readers, trivia buffs, and those who like to have a great reference work at their fingertips will find it informative, useful, and just plain fun. Highly recommended.
Manya S. Chylinski, Ernst & Young Ctr. for Business Knowledge, Boston

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