Cover image for Encyclopedia of contemporary American culture
Encyclopedia of contemporary American culture
McDonogh, Gary W.
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Routledge, 2001.
Physical Description:
xxxiv, 839 pages ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E169.12 .E49 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



As a meeting point for world cultures, the USA is characterized by its breadth and diversity. Acknowledging that diversity is the fundamental feature of American culture, this volume is organized around a keen awareness of race, gender, class and space and with over 1,200 alphabetically-arranged entries - spanning 'the American century' from the end of World War II to the present day - the Encyclopediaprovides a one-stop source for insightful and stimulating coverage of all aspects of that culture.
Entries range from short definitions to longer overview essays and with full cross-referencing, extensive indexing, and a thematic contents list, this volume provides an essential cultural context for both teachers and students of American studies, as well as providing fascinating insights into American culture for the general reader. The suggestions for further reading, which follows most entries, are also invaluable guides to more specialized sources.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Another of Routledge's encyclopedias of contemporary culture (e.g., Encyclopedia of Contemporary Italian Culture, LJ 7/00), which vary substantially in quality, this successfully presents a well-balanced synthesis of the United States after World War II. The text covers all aspects of culture, from business and politics to education, arts and sciences, society, and religion. The alphabetically arranged entries range from short definitions to longer overviews that span a couple pages and treat topics as varied as Haitian Americans, Camille Paglia, Disneyland, Prozac, and censorship. A thematic list groups the entries into broad categories, such as "Civil Rights," "Film," "Gender and Sexuality," and "Urbanism and Suburbs." Given the diversity, complexity, and sheer overabundance of material, the editors acknowledge that such a work can't be exhaustive and that shortcomings and discrepancies are inevitable. Yet with its suggestions for further reading, cross references, and even Internet addresses, this work provides a good starting point for information about the issues, events, people, and places that shape, define, or represent America today. Recommended for larger public and research libraries.DAnna Youssefi, Rice Univ., Houston, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

More than 100 contributors and editors with diverse backgrounds and perspectives labored five years to create this outstanding reference work. Their efforts to educate readers on post-WW II high, mass, and popular culture in the US were not in vain. A brief introduction clearly defines the work's role as a guide to the complex, dynamic processes of US culture. A section on use categorizes articles by length and breadth; those of 2,000 words, for example, provide comprehensive overviews of fundamental issues. A thematic entry list classifies articles according to 35 broad topics. The body of the work consists of some 1,200 cross-referenced articles of varying lengths; longer articles provide suggestions for further reading. The range is breathtaking--body piercing and tattoos, immigration, Pittsburgh. The index refers to both primary and related articles. America A to Z: People, Places, Customs, and Culture (1997) covers similar ground, but without the scholarship of the present volume, a compact alternative to such multivolume works as St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, ed. by Tom and Sara Pendergast (CH, Jul'00). Should be part of the reference collection of every library. M. C. Duhig Library Center of Point Park College and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

Table of Contents

Woody Allen
Beat generation
Bill of Rights
Blaxploitation films
Culture wars
Brett Easton Ellis
Quincy Jones
Eugene McCarthy
Old age
Pacific Rim
Sylvia Plath
Race and ethnicity
Paul Simon
Time Warner