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Berkshire Encyclopedia of China

by: Cheng, Lisung, et al editors

Great Barrington MA: Berkshire Publishing Group 2009, Hardbound
ISBN: 978-0-9770159-4-8

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Winter Volume: 2009 Issue: 16(4) page(s): 26

This first multi-volume multi-authored encyclopedia about China ever been published outside of China offers exceptional complexity. Its five volumes, their edges shown here, are of outstanding content. The super inclusions include some eight hundred articles. They are written by more than three hundred well-known Chinese and Western scholars. The content is such that it discusses China more than five thousand years ago, sometimes even more ancient than that, and also does so closer to today.

Every one of these articles is titled in English, in Chinese characters, with a pinyin transliteration, and with tone marks. Every one of them ends with a section titled: Further Reading. Accompanying them are more than twelve hundred photographs, all black and white, many maps, lots of tables, timetables, side bars, and so much more.

This invaluable five-volume reference set covers topics in the arts, belief systems, business, cuisine, and so much more. This is an important first, and they plan to do one or more revisions over time. So do suggest items and ideas to them for future inclusion.

Knowing the paucity of information about China, the publisher will allow ten copies of up to three articles for use in a single course or classroom. Bless them fo that! Furthermore, they have every article beginning on its own page, each one has adequate margins and can be copied on an standard-size page making it easy to copy and valuable as handouts.

The Chinese consider odd numbers male, and though this is the last reviewed book in this issue, be aware it is a strong choice for you to consider as a wonderful holiday gift to yourself and to others. It is not intended as the tale that wags the dog, rather as the dog barking out saying 'do purchase me!' If I did not have a copy, thanks to the generosity of the publisher, it would be first on my own holiday gift list. I know of no better present to enjoy, use, and pour over for the holidays and every day thereafter.

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