Cover image for Violence in America : an encyclopedia
Violence in America : an encyclopedia
Gottesman, Ronald.
Physical Description:
volumes <1- 3 > : illustrations ; 29 cm
v. 1. A-F -- v. 2. G-Q -- v. 3. R-Z, index.



Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HN90.V5 V5474 1999 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
HN90.V5 V5474 1999 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize
HN90.V5 V5474 1999 V.3 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



This text is designed to look at important and complex issues, such as what explanations for violence (biological and cultural) in America have been offered over the years, and how and with what social consequences, has violence been represented in art and popular culture. The encyclopedia addresses criminal justice issues, violence in the media, historical acts of violence and the cultural and biological roots of violence.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Do you remember Kitty Genovese? It's 3:20 A.M., March 13, 1964, in New York City. Returning from work, the 28-year-old bar manager parks outside her apartment in a residential area. A man steps from the shadows, stabs her, and begins to assault her. In response to her screams, lights blink on in windows up and down the street. As her screams continue, the attacker repeatedly stabs and assaults her for 25 minutes. Although almost 40 people watch the attack from their apartment windows, no one calls the police until she is dead, a half hour later. The crime shocked the nation, and 35 years later it still troubles us as a symbol of urban apathy. This encyclopedia attempts to explore the subject of violence by exposing all aspects of its nature, offering readers an "unprecedented inventory of what scholarship and research now know about violence in America." Its definition of violence includes, as with the Kitty Genovese case, injury inflicted on a person but stretches to cover injuries inflicted by people against animals, the natural environment, or property. The injury may be physical or emotional, legal or criminal, intentional or not. Some of the more than 600 entries written by 444 contributors cover people like Ma Barker, W. E. B. Du Bois, Abbie Hoffman, Timothy McVeigh, and James Earl Ray. Hoffman's entry, at roughly 1,000 words, is typical of the coverage given to individuals. It explains who he was, what he did, and why he received national attention. Other entries treat violence not by looking at individuals but by covering specific events, social conditions, and cultural trends. These include American Indian Movement, American Revolution, Cult, Kidnapping, Oklahoma City bombing, and Recidivism, among others. A third type of entry treats concepts, summarizing and explaining the current research on Capital punishment, Mass murder, Nonviolence, Suicide, and more. Approximately 30 major essays, some as long as 12,000 words, examine broad topics such as Alcohol and alcoholism and Sport. A moderate number of eye-catching black-and-white photos are sprinkled throughout the text, as are charts, graphs, and short bibliographies. Additional features include a chronology and lists of organizations, publications, and Web resources. Scribner has done its usual good job with text layout, indexing, and convenience features (e.g., running heads, cross-references, section headings). This unique source is highly recommended. It manages to maintain a scholarly balance between attention-grabbing detail and reflective analysis. Perhaps its most engaging feature is simply the juxtaposition of its varied but related topics. Video games, military interventions, corporal punishment, abortion, and racial unrest are all brought together in a solid exploration of a disturbing topic. Violence in America deserves a place in academic and public-library collections.

Library Journal Review

This three-volume set on the social, historical, biological, and cultural aspects of violence in the United States offers 600 entries on topics ranging from violence, homicide, and race and ethnicity to women, child abuse, labor and unions, sociobiology, "ultimate fighting," television, gun violence, and various events and persons. Gottesman (English, Univ. of Southern California) and Brown (history, Univ. of Oregon) define violence not only as "physical, emotional, or psychological" injury but also as the threat of injury to individuals, animals, property, or environment. Ranging from 500 to 5000 words, the signed entries are by academics in criminal justice, history, psychology, sociology, and English, among other disciplines. This is a very nicely done encyclopedia with a carefully constructed index, bibliographies, some 350 photographs, and useful appendixes. The well-written and informative entries are an excellent starting point for high school and college research projects. Though it overlaps considerably with Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict (Academic Pr., 1999), that work focuses somewhat more on war and international issues and is for a strictly academic audience. Violence in America is highly recommended for academic, high school, and public libraries. [See also "Best Reference Sources 1999," p. 54.--Ed.]--Mary Jane Brustman, Univ. at Albany Libs. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.