First published in 1992 and updated in 2000 Chambers Book of Facts
is part single volume, compact encyclopaedia and part a close relation of Whitaker's Almanack
, with elements of The Guinness Book of Records
and Bartholomew World Atlas
thrown in for good measure.
Chambers Book of Facts is laid out in 13 sections--not randomly alphabetical like an encyclopaedia which puts Halley's comet next to hallmark or Scunthorpe immediately before scurvy. Instead it has headings such as Communication, Sports and Games, Space, Natural History and Arts and Culture. But there's a comprehensive index to help you find exactly what you want.
Who discovered insulin? Nicolas Pualesco, a Romanian in 1921. That's listed under dozens of "Important discoveries in medicine" in the Human Life section. Want information about the 26 cantons of Switzerland including their size, population and the name of the capital? It's all in the Social Structure section. And who was king of the Netherlands in 1580? William the Silent. That's in the immensely detailed History section.
Did you know, moreover that Seth was an Egyptian God "depicted as a strange being with a forked tail, a long gaunt body, huge ears and protruding eyes?" He represented all evils and, the Egyptians believed, was the cause of all disasters. That information is in the "Figures of myth and legend" part of the Thought and Belief Section.
Chambers Book of Facts claims to contain 160,000 facts, although few readers would bother to count. It's a useful easy-access reference book for anyone who needs or likes to check facts. It would be a boon to quiz setters too. --Susan Elkin
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.