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Just as the British Chambers Biographical Dictionary (2002) provided the basis for The Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Biography (2003), the Chambers Concise Biographical Dictionary (2002) has begotten this volume in Houghton Mifflin's American Heritage Dictionaries line.Entries are similar to those in The Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Biography, having name, birth and death dates, a brief identifying phrase, and narrative text in which related entries are cross-referenced. Downsizing has been achieved not only by cutting the number of entries from 18,000 to 10,000 but also by lopping off some entry length. Gone are the longer sidebar entries found in the Houghton Mifflin as well as the occasional citations to source material. On the other hand, The Riverside Dictionary of Biography adds a few black-and-white portraits at the beginning of every alphabetical section and also scatters quotations here and there throughout the text. A few individuals not found in Houghton Mifflin have been added, among them John Kerry and Ang Lee. In some cases Riverside has the advantage of greater currency, noting, for example, Lance Armstrong's sixth Tour de France win and the deaths of Ray Charles, Julia Child, and Ronald Reagan in 2004. Both volumes retain a slight British bias. Nigella Lawson and Richard Branson rate entries but not Martha Stewart or Donald Trump.Libraries that already own The Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Biography probably don't need to add Riverside, even though it is slightly more up-to-date. For other libraries, it is a sound and economical choice. Mary Ellen QuinnCopyright « American Library Association. All rights reservedThe Riverside Dictionary of Biography includes more than 10,000 people from around the globe and from all periods of history. All continents, fields of endeavor, and historical eras are richly represented: the likes of Plato, Sappho, and Michelangelo rub shoulders with Nelson Mandela; Frida Kahlo; Mao Zedong's wife, Jiang Qing; and the actor-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.The person's full name, birth and death dates, nationality, and occupation are given, orienting the reader at a glance to the essential biographical data. Details of the person's life, education, and achievements follow, along with information on the historical milieu in which he or she was active. Hundreds of short quotations provide morsels of wisdom, wit, and often a bit of humor while imparting the spirit of notables such as Stephen Hawking, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Thousands of cross-references thread related lives togetherthe entry for the great blues singer Ma Rainey, for example, has a reference to her prot┌g┌ Bessie Smith, and from Bessie Smith there are further references to the bandleaders Fletcher Henderson and Louis Armstrong.This wealth of information is arranged in an attractive, readable format with more than a hundred black-and-white illustrations. This is an indispensable resource for schools, libraries, and individuals who need an up-to-date and authoritative biographical reference.