September 15, 2017 Booklist 13 www.booklistonline.com
For the Gay Stage: A Guide to 456 Plays, Aristophanes to
By Drewey Wayne Gunn.
2017. 200p. McFarland, $65 (9781476670195). 792.
Gunn (Gay American Novels, 1870–1970: A Reader’s Guide,
2016) uses William Hoffman’s criteria in which a gay play is defined
“as one whose central figure or figures are homosexual or one in
which homosexuality is a main theme.” His selections are limited
to scripts in print and do not include lesbian or transgender plays
(except for Evan Placey’s Pronoun, a play with a gay trans male,
and Brian Drader’s Curtsy, a play with a gay intersexed person).
Gunn notes that his selections represent only a portion of the ones
available, and he does include translations and international productions of plays written in English. The result is a wide-ranging array
of plays, and each entry includes a characterization (such as “
military drama,” “domestic farce”); number of characters; type of set; a
brief synopsis; and production history. Recommended for literature,
performing-arts, and LGBTQ collections. —Carolyn Mulac
Horses of the World.
By Élise Rousseau. Tr. by Teresa
2017. 536p. illus. Princeton, $39.95
Cleverly designed and handsomely
illustrated, this single-volume encyclopedia of horse breeds will serve nicely
both on the reference shelf and as a
desktop companion for equine enthu-siasts.Breeds are arranged by country
within broad geographic areas. Each
entry provides nontechnical, field-guide-type description (e.g., “broad chest,
a very muscular croup, and strong
legs”), followed by distribution, origins,
character, attributes, uses, and current
status. Both domestic and extant wild horses are included. Writing
style is refreshingly straightforward. Page layout incorporates large
font sizes with lots of eye-friendly white space between sections.
Although this is published for adult readers, more than 400 richly
colored photographs and illustrations will likely attract and hold the
interest of young readers as well. —Art Lichtenstein
Pop Goes the Decade: The Fifties.
By Ralph G. Giordano.
2017. 360p. illus. Greenwood, $84.64 (9781440844713); e-book (9781440844720).
America in the 1950s is often portrayed as halcyon years, but here
Giordano strips away the veneer to expose an evenhanded view of
the popular-culture landscape of the time. The work breaks down into
subcategories such as “Television,” “Music, ” “Sports,” and “Fashion”
and explores issues that include racism, sexism, and McCarthyism.
With the country being threatened by the Communist menace and
young minds being subverted by influences such as rock ’n’ roll and
comic books, it is easy to see why conservative America worked
diligently to create the illusion of prosperous unity and harmony
throughout the land. The time line could be a lot more robust, and
there aren’t enough photographs or illustrations. But overall, Giordano’s book is an easy read that provides general readers and students
with an information-packed overview of the decade. —Jim Frutchey
Sex and Gender.
By David E. Newton.
2017. 362p. illus. ABC-CLIO, $60 (9781440854798); e-book (9781440854804). 305.3.
The Tattoo Dictionary: An A–Z
Newton’s overviews of historical, biological, developmental, legal,
medical, and societal issues illustrate the complexity of today’s
public debates about the very personal matters of sex and gender.
Clarifying the distinctions between the two, he summarizes histori-
cal roots and the state of contemporary knowledge of this broad
topic, giving relatively extended discussion to, using his terminol-
ogy, gender development, transgenderism (or transgender identity),
gender roles, and affectional orientation. Bibliographies, first-person
narratives, selected documents on legal matters, and profiles of sig-
nificant individuals and organizations complement brief summaries
of such topics as body image, LGBT discrimination, sex education,
and gender inequality. Discussions of gender dysphoria and trans
identity implicitly conflate them with anatomy, ignoring—perhaps
in deference to controversial DSM definitions—those who consider
themselves transgender but do not want or cannot afford surgery
or hormone therapy. Aside from that,
Newton offers a good introduction to
issues much discussed in the public
arena but not always well understood
by discussants. —James Rettig
Guide to the Secret Language of
By Trent Aitken-Smith.
2017. 256p. illus. Mitchell Beazley, $20
It may seem easy enough (yet aw-
Today’s Foreign Policy Issues: Democrats and Republicans.
fully time-consuming) to search for
tattoo designs online, but this small
volume will prove useful to those
wanting to know the stories behind
more than 200 popular tattoos, such
as the Ace of Spades, anchors, the charming little devil known as
Hot Stuff, the nautical star, and the QR code. The black-and-white
illustrations will also come in handy for those wanting to take in
a clear, simple image to their artist of choice. See also references
and an index add value. This inexpensive, unique volume belongs
in most public library collections. —Rebecca Vnuk
By Trevor Rubenzer.
2017. 400p. ABC-CLIO, $97 (9781440843662); e-book (9781440843679). 327.73.
The third volume in the publisher’s Across the Aisle series, after
economic and social issues were explored, follows the same format of presenting in a clear, balanced, and succinct way the key
positions of the major parties through the 2016 campaign. The 37
major issues and conflicts are presented in the national, regional,
or international context within the party positions and in public
opinion. Each issue is brought forward initially with a brief “At a
Glance,” then bullet points “According to Many Democrats” and
“According to Many Republicans,” followed by a more in-depth,
objective overview and separate sections on the two parties’
positions. The sections convey the mix of internal viewpoints objectively and how rhetorical positions often differ from voting and
priorities. The glossary, bibliography, and accurate index add to the
work’s value. —Arthur Meyers
REFERENCE BOOKS IN BRIEF