February 1, 2016 Booklist 11 www.booklistonline.com
boots. What started as idle talk at an Alaskan
working camp turned into a once-in-a-lifetime
adventure: to hike the entire length of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, from Canada to
Texas. Ilgunas’ time on the road would test
his endurance and challenge his assumptions
about the Great Plains and their inhabitants.
The proposed pipeline was already making
its presence felt during his journey, and while
Ilgunas disputes the plan on environmental
grounds, it’s clear that those he meets who
would have it running through their backyards
are more concerned with safety and property
rights than global warming. His brief meetings
with people on the road, many of whom helpfully warn him he’ll get shot for trespassing,
along with an engaging travelogue about the
perils of his trek, make up the backbone of the
book. The hike gives Ilgunas a more nuanced
appreciation of the scope and impact of the
pipeline, inviting us to consider the landscape
before moving to change it. —Bridget Thoreson
Abolition and Antislavery: A Historical
Encyclopedia of the American Mosaic.
Ed. by Peter Hinks and John McKivigan.
2015. 447p. illus. ABC-CLIO, $100 (9781610698276).
It is easy to think of the American abolition movement as being a precursor to the
Civil War and culminating in the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing American slaves.
However, abolition and emancipation were
very different things. While abolition involved
mobilizing for or against the continuation of
slavery, emancipation was concerned with the
socioeconomic impact of abolition. Thus, the
two are interrelated and represent a historical
sweep of almost 200 years, beginning with
Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko; or, the Royal Slave, an
early novelistic depiction of the cruelty of Europeans toward Africans, written in 1686, and
culminating with Frederick Douglass’ autobiography, in 1881.
That we still deal on a daily basis with the
And Then All Hell Broke Loose: Two
impact of slavery in our country makes this
cogent one-volume encyclopedia particularly
relevant. The text provides a summary of the
history of American antislavery, abolition,
and emancipation, giving a view at once pan-
oramic and personal of the struggles entailed.
The signed, A–Z entries are uniformly clearly
written, each ending with cross-references and
a list of electronic and print works for further
reading. The scope is fairly broad, covering
abolitionist movements, philosophies, oppo-
sition, and leaders and giving a picture of the
complexity of issues and proposed resolutions
to American slavery. An opening chronology is
helpful in outlining the process from abolition
to emancipation, and concluding matter in-
cludes a variety of primary source documents,
a selected bibliography, and an excellent index,
which notes the black-and-white illustrations
in italics and primary entries in bold. A sound
source for academic libraries, this might also
see use in high schools, given the approachable
prose. —Ann Welton
YA/C: This is an accessible volume on an
important history topic. RV.
Decades in the Middle East.
By Richard Engel.
Feb. 2016. 256p. Simon & Schuster, $27
As a print and broadcast journalist with his
own boots on the ground in the Middle East
for more than 20 years, Engel has seen it all:
sectarian violence and civil uprisings, stealth
kidnappings and terrorist beheadings, the fall
of dictators and the rise of rebel warlords. Now
Engel takes a long view, not
only of his career trajectory from struggling stringer
straight out of Stanford to
bureau chief and chief foreign correspondent for NBC
News, but also of the genesis of the ancient conflicts
that form the foundation of
contemporary unrest in a diverse and divisive
region. His grasp of Middle East history is
encyclopedic, yet Engel distills the major tenets of geopolitical and religious conflict into
comprehensible and comprehensive terms. His
professional and personal witness to everything
from the arrest of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt
to the execution of Saddam Hussein in Iraq
brings an immediacy to globe-altering events
and provides an authenticity that transcends
the in-harm’s-way reportage that has earned
him journalism’s highest honors. Clear, candid,
and concise, Engel’s overview of the ongoing
battleground should be required reading for
anyone desiring a thorough and informed portrait of what the past has created and what the
future holds for the Middle East and the world
at large. —Carol Haggas
The Princeton History of Modern Ireland.
Ed. by Richard Bourke and Ian McBride.
Jan. 2016. 552p. illus. Princeton, $45 (9780691154060).
This commanding volume offers readers
significant research into the development
of modern Ireland over the past 500 years.
Bourke and McBride have edited a comprehensive resource for academic and
general audiences that combines the research
of 21 contributors. Each of the chapters offers readers a thorough and well-documented
understanding of topics and events, a bibliography for further reading, and considerable
notes from other sources. The book utilizes
maps and includes an extensive introduction
by Bourke and an index. The 21 chapters are
divided into 2 parts: “Narrative and Events”
and “Topics, Themes, and Developments,”
which reaches across Ireland from the sixteenth century to modern times. This resource
offers readers considerable coverage and analysis of many facets of modern Ireland’s history
and is recommended for academic and larger
public libraries. —Harrison Wick
Washington’s Monument and the
Fascinating History of the Obelisk.
By John Steele Gordon.
Feb. 2016. 240p. Bloomsbury, $27 (9781620406502).
London has Big Ben, Paris has the Eiffel
Tower, and our nation’s capital has the Washington Monument, at 555 feet the tallest
stone structure on earth. The most iconic of
the District of Columbia’s edifices, it was inspired not by Greek and Roman architecture,
as so many of the capital’s buildings were, but
rather by the monuments of ancient Egypt,
in particular, the obelisk. Though Gordon
(An Empire of Wealth, 2004) explains, “a true
obelisk is a monolith . . . carved from a single
piece of stone, the Washington Monument,
made of granite blocks faced with marble,
is, technically at least, only obelisk shaped.”
Technicalities aside, the story of those more
than 36,000 granite blocks, which took nearly 40 years to assemble, interwoven with the
history of ancient Egyptian obelisks, some
of which were transported in often perilous
journeys to other locations around the world,
makes for compelling reading. Filled with
fascinating facts and interesting anecdotes,
this is a book that will delight history and
architecture buffs and enrich both past and
planned visits to Washington, D.C., and its
sights. —Carolyn Mulac
The World of Ancient Rome: A Daily Life
By James Ermatinger.
2v. 2015. 842p. illus. ABC-CLIO, $189 (9781440829079).
This set explores the various aspects of everyday life for the ancient Roman citizen. It
begins with a chronology of historical events
and goes on to look at 10 topic areas: “Arts,”
“Economics and Work,” “Family and Gender,” “Fashion and Appearance,” “Food and
Drink,” “Housing and Community,” “Politics
and Warfare,” “Recreation and Social Customs,” “Religion and Belief,” and “Science and
Technology.” Each topic area begins with an
introduction and contains about 25 individual entries. Entries contain a concise analysis
of a specific concept within the overarching
topic; many entries include images or sidebars
to help illustrate or give additional context.
Entries also include see also references and
“Further Reading” sections directing readers
to related entries and additional print and
electronic resources. The volumes conclude
with a selection of primary documents providing examples of firsthand documentation
related to each topic area and a bibliography
of additional resources for readers.
Ancient Rome has a rich, complex history,
making it an area of great interest for researchers. The World of Ancient Rome: A Daily Life
Encyclopedia gives researchers looking specifically into the lives and customs of ancient
Roman citizens, as well as the interested reader, a good starting point. This work would be
a useful addition to public and undergraduate
libraries. —Kaela Casey