Cover image for The Oxford companion to politics of the world
The Oxford companion to politics of the world
Krieger, Joel, 1951-
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
xxxi, 1018 pages : maps ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JA61 .O95 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
JA61 .O95 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Reference material

On Order



The world has seen dramatic changes since the publication of the first edition of The Oxford Companion to Politics of the World in 1993. In the post-Cold War world, globalization now offers wealth and opportunities on a broader scale, as well as greater international harmony, but threatens toreinforce the advantage gap between wealthy and poor regions and intensify environmental degradation. Conflict and squalor--expressed in brutal brushfire wars, epidemics, and chronic underdevelopment--vie with equally dramatic accounts of growth and democracy associated with a liberal politicalorder and the global diffusion of trade, investment, and communications. Drawing on the breadth of the first edition, this major new edition reflects the changing world with a reassessment of many of the core themes of the Companion, and new articles on the people, concepts, and events that have shaped the world since 1993. The second edition includes biographies ofKofi Annan, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, and Gerhard Schroder; articles on events such as the Rwandan Genocide and the war in Kosovo; and coverage of international trade developments such as NAFTA and the World Trade Organization. Eighty-seven of the 672 articles in the Second Edition are completelynew; most others are thoroughly revised. This edition also features a substantial new set of articles, a dozen essays on critical issues written by influential figures. Recognizing the importance of including varying viewpoints, the editors have commissioned these essays to provide an informed and often passionate debate oncontroversial topics. Discussions include Lani Guinier and Glenn Loury on Affirmative Action; Francis Fukuyama and Milton Fisk on the Limits of Liberal Democracy; and Lloyd Axworthy and John Bolton on the United Nations. The contributors discuss nearly every nation in the world, including extensive information on institutions, political parties, leaders, and the sources of political mobilization and conflict. The volume also includes biographies of more than seventy-five political leaders and thinkers who haveshaped the contemporary political world. Articles include detailed discussions of critical historical developments and events, concepts, international law, and organizations. The Oxford Companion to Politics of the World, Second Edition is an accessible, timely, thought-provoking, and comprehensivereference that captures the complexity and vitality of contemporary world affairs.

Author Notes

Joel Krieger(Editor in Chief) is Norma Wilentz Hess Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College. Editors are Margaret E. Crahan (Hunter College), Lawrence R. Jacobs (University of Minnesota), William A. Joseph (Wellesley College), Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja (Howard University and UnitedNations Development Programme), and James A. Paul (Global Policy Forum).

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The second edition of this ambitious, informative, but unevenly written reference source originally published in 1993 covers people, political concepts, forms of government, organizations, events, and issues related to world politics. Some 87 new entries have been prepared for this edition, including two new features: 23 "interpretative essays" on themes like globalization and nationalism and 6 pairs of essays offering opposing viewpoints on topics such as affirmative action and sustainable development. These additions focus attention on important issues of world politics. Most of the almost 600 remaining entries are at most only slightly revised. In many, a paragraph or two has been tacked on to the end of the original entry. And in the entry on Mexico, where more substantial revisions have been made, the subheading of the section where the revisions are located does not reflect the changes; the election of Vincente Fox last year is discussed under the subheading "The Elections of 1988, 1994 and 1997." There are also some entries where revisions are already two or three years old. The entry on Russia does not mention Vladimir Putin at all and discusses Yeltsin very generally while concentrating on events happening before 1997. (A separate entry for Yeltsin refers to Putin only briefly.) The entries are arranged alphabetically and contain cross-references as well as a short list of sources and an author byline at the end of the entry. The main body concludes with a confusing set of maps and a very useful and complete index. The five pages of black-and-white regional maps are small, sketchy, and disorganized. Most of the maps show a broad outline of countries and identify capital cities, although the geographic placement of these cities is very approximate. In at least one instance, the map misplaces a capital city: a small insert map of the Middle East locates Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, in a shaded area labeled "West Bank--Palestinian Authority." (The book's first edition omitted Jerusalem completely, mistakenly identifying Tel Aviv as Israel's capital.) The book is intentionally broad in scope and overlapping in structure, resulting in some inevitable inconsistencies, some missing coverage (e.g., international slavery), and some repetitive information. Despite these factors--the relatively few entries that have been updated substantially and the poorly designed maps--academic and most public libraries will continue to find this compendium useful. Libraries owning the first edition need to weigh the outdatedness of some entries in the 1993 edition against the weaknesses in the second edition. Smaller libraries (including high-school libraries) may find that current editions of general encyclopedias provide adequate and more current coverage.

Library Journal Review

The aim of this ambitious one-volume encyclopedia is to provide a ``comprehensive guide to international relations and national domestic policies throughout the world,'' with a clear emphasis on post-World War II events. An impressive international assortment of nearly 500 contributors has prepared 650 mini-essays that are similar in format and scope to those found in other Oxford companions. However, the editors promise that this volume features ``cutting-edge interpretation and analysis'' of the current situation in world politics. Within one alphabetical arrangement are found essays on every country; brief biographies of political leaders and intellectual figures (e.g., George Kennan, Franz Fanon, Malcolm X, Vaclav Havel); 21 broad interpretive essays (covering, for instance, democracy, elites, class and politics, war, and gender and politics); concepts; treaties; forms of government; historical events; issues; and organizations. Many of the essays cover very specific topics--e.g., AIDS, genocide, tribalism, Tiananmen Square, Chernobyl, Roe v. Wade , the domino theory, contras, gay and lesbian politics--and provide a solid starting point for further research. Each essay contains a brief bibliography, and cross-references proliferate throughout the volume. A detailed index (not seen) will further enhance the usefulness. Among the contributors are several well-known names (e.g., Robert Dahl, Martin Gilbert, Seymour Martin Lipset, Garry Wills, Todd Gitlin, Zhores Medvedev) and two recent Clinton appointees, Anthony Lake (on the Vietnam War) and Robert Reich (on deindustrialization). Combining the best elements of many standard reference works (e.g., Europa World Yearbook , Dictionary of American Politics ), this volume will become indispensable for all academic libraries.-- Thomas A. Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, Pa. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A highly useful volume that "provides a comprehensive guide to international relations and national domestic politics throughout the world" in 650 articles (also termed "interpretive essays on seminal contemporary themes") by nearly 500 scholars from more than 40 countries, most from the US. In addition to country articles, biographies, and interpretive essays there are seven additional substantive categories. Most entries are post-WW II. All seven editors and nine of the fourteen advisors are from the US. The 40-page index appears complete, and though there are only six maps, the detailed inserts are helpful. Almost all articles conclude with cross-references and sources. Other useful cross-references are alphabetical entries without text that point to the entry under which the topic is discussed. Starred terms within the body of articles also serve as cross-references to other entries. More than two pages are given to "Perestroika" while "Nationalism" occupies five pages, includes 20 starred terms, and concludes with 11 sources and 8 cross-references. Although the editors intend this work for high school students through international lawyers, most of the former will find it quite difficult. Recommended for academic and public libraries. K. Y. Stabler; New Mexico State University