Cover image for Gale encyclopedia of U.S. economic history
Gale encyclopedia of U.S. economic history
Carson, Thomas, 1940-
Publication Information:
Detroit : Gale Group, [1999]

Physical Description:
2 volumes : illustrations, maps ; 29 cm
v. 1. A-K -- v. 2. L-Z.


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HC102 .G35 1999 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
HC102 .G35 1999 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Designed to meet the research needs of high school students and up, this two-volume set presents information on the people, businesses, industries, events, movements, and trends that comprise the economic history of the U.S. A 33-page economic chronology, divided into ten eras spanning roughly 50,00

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Most specialized reference encyclopedias arrange their entries in one of two ways: either by thematic chapters or with a straight A^-Z lineup. The advantage of the first approach is that it pulls entries together under unifying themes and helps the student make sense out of what otherwise might appear to be a hodgepodge of miscellaneous facts. The downside is that the reader has to dig around a little to locate a specific bit of information. The A^-Z approach makes finding entries very simple but offers little to tie them together. In designing this encyclopedia, the editors have tried for the best of both approaches. More than 1,000 alphabetically arranged entries are preceded by a complete list of all the entries, grouped under 10 categories. These categories correspond to chronological periods such as "Colonies to 1763" and "War and Commercial Independence, 1790^-1815." The last period covered is " Contemporary World, 1973^-Present." Overview articles for each of the 10 chronological periods are included among the A^-Z entries. In addition, the editors have provided a 100-page index and a 30-page chronology. Half of the entries are relatively brief, covering economic terms and historical and geographical definitions--Global economy, Santa Fe Trail, Subsistence agriculture. The rest of the entries consist of "overviews, issues, biographies, state economic histories, historical events, and company and industry histories" (e.g., Affirmative action; Great Depression; Hamilton, Alexander; Kroc, Ray; Postum Cereal Company). These entries are longer and all include short "Further Reading" lists. A sprinkling of black-and-white photos and illustrations helps break up the text. Many academic and larger public libraries have a copy of the three-volume set Encyclopedia of American Economic History: Studies of the Principle Movements and Ideas (Scribner, 1980) on the shelf. Because it was never updated, and because Scribner is now part of the Gale Group, it is easy to think of this current offering as an update of the first. However, although it is recommended on its own merits, Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History should be viewed as a younger, distant cousin rather than direct descendant of the older set. This new offering is aimed at secondary schools and lower division undergraduates, and, as the preface clearly states, the topics were chosen to support American history textbooks and students just beginning their research into this subject.

Library Journal Review

Targeting a high school and first- and second-year college audience, this easy-to-read work aims at supporting American history textbooks and providing a one- stop-shopping resource on all that comprises U.S. economic history--people, businesses, industries, events, movements, and trends--with a special emphasis on the 19th and 20th centuries. A similar specialized encyclopedia, Glenn Porter's Encyclopedia of American Economic History (Scribner, 1980), now dated, presents lengthier essays on movements and ideas only and is intended for more educated lay readers. In contrast, the Gale source consists of a unique array of 1,003 distinctive entries, somewhat confusing in their sheer variety, alphabetically arranged and of various lengths. Half are brief economic terms and historical and geographical definitions, and the other half are era overviews, issues, biographies, state economic histories, historical events, and company and industry profiles with limited bibliographies. Ranging from laissez faire, the Boston Tea Party, the Cumberland Gap, the Santa Fe Trail to slavery, the utilities industry, and Rosie the Riveter, the topics covered were selected for inclusion by an advisory board of high school teachers and college and university professors. The two-volume reference commences with a 33-page economic chronology spanning 50,000 years and divided into ten historical eras with corresponding essays. Recommended for public and academic history collections as an expensive, but up-to-date and comprehensive addition to the literature.--Marilyn Rosenthal, Nassau Community Coll. Lib., Garden City, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Carson's work consists of 1,003 entries that paint a fascinating picture of the historical, economic, and social development of the US. Written by a team of nine secondary and collegiate instructors and librarians, the articles provide basic background and enough references to related events or names to whet readers' appetites for further exploration. Intended for a high school and undergraduate audience, the encyclopedia should interest anyone eager to learn about US history. Entries consist of brief definitions, biographies, and one- to two-page essays on issues such as abolition of slavery, military-industrial complex, and states' rights, and include four to eight citations for further reading. Entries are arranged alphabetically, but the table of contents divides them into ten chronological eras. Unfortunately, issues are interspersed throughout the encyclopedia, identified only in entry headers and in the table of contents. Readers would be better served by an alphabetical list of all issues or a list by categories. Similar works include James Olson's Dictionary of United States Economic History (CH, Mar'93) or The Cambridge Economic History of the United States, ed. by Stanley L. Engerman and Robert E. Gallman (CH, Oct'96). Recommended for business, economics, politics, and history collections. All levels. L. Schankman Mansfield University of Pennsylvania