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The Cambridge Encyclopedia [Hardcover]

David Crystal
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

20 Nov 2000 Cambridge Encyclopedia
The Cambridge Encyclopedia, which now appears in a significantly expanded and updated Fourth Edition, is one of the world's leading single-volume encyclopedias. It has an unrivalled reputation for its authority and reliability, as well as for the stylishness and concise nature of its entries, and it is a presence in homes, studies, offices, classrooms and libraries the world over. The book, with A-Z entries running to about two million words and an easy-to-use Ready Reference section, has been praised for its inclusiveness and for the clarity of its information. As a compendium of general knowledge in one easily accessible volume, it provides a superb reference resource. Its range of coverage is broad (from people and places to scientific concepts, the media, philosophical ideas, and international issues) and its information is precise and accurate.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 1308 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 4 edition (20 Nov 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521790999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521790994
  • Product Dimensions: 28.5 x 23.3 x 7.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 770,673 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

David Crystal works from his home in Holyhead, North Wales, as a writer, editor, lecturer, and broadcaster. He published the first of his 100 or so books in 1964, and became known chiefly for his research work in English language studies. He held a chair at the University of Reading for 10 years, and is now Honorary Professor of Linguistics at the University of Wales, Bangor.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Remarkably, the fourth edition of The Cambridge Encyclopedia manages to improve on its impressive predecessors. This is no small feat when you take a look at some of the reviews previous editions have garnered: The Daily Telegraph declared that "the essential facts are instantly available ... better written, more concise and intelligent"; the Independent on Sunday felt that it is "as comprehensive as a single-volume encyclopedia can hope to be"; Time Magazine wrote of "Thousands of enlightenments"; and the Mail on Sunday purred about "a superbly organised reference book."

The editorial content is clear and wastes no words. It manages to be accessible without over-simplifying, to a remarkable degree. Take the entry on Aesop as an example. After a pronunciation guide, we read:

"(?6th-c BC) Legendary Greek fabulist. He is supposed to have been a native of Phrygia and a slave who, after being set free, travelled to Greece. The fables attributed to him are anecdotes which use animals to make a moral point and are, in all probability, a compilation of tales from many sources. The stories were popularised by the Roman poet Phaedrus in the 1st-c AD, and rewritten in sophisticated verse by La Fontaine in 1668." There are cross-references to "fable; Greek Literature; La Fontaine; Phaedrus."
The same clarity and economy are maintained consistently throughout the whole vast tome. And it is massive: there are about 40,000 "separately identified people, places and topics" with thousands of those useful cross-references to link entries together, a 24-page colour atlas section, and 800 black and white illustrations to back up the text. The book really does succeed in its aim of being a standard reference for "home, school, library or office," useful for both adults and teenage students. --David Pickering


'Thousands of enlightenments … rolls up its sleeves and gets down to business …'. Time Magazine

'The entries are succinct, the range formidable, and the illustrations are on the technological heights.' The Independent

'Editor Crystal brings impressive credentials to the encyclopedia … Scientific and technical subjects receive considerable attention … a substantial Ready Reference section provides much compact information in tabular form on a wide range of subjects, including space exploration, the earth, major religious festivals, the nations of the world, political leaders of various countries, weights and measures, names and titles, awards, and sports.' Kister's Best Encyclopedias (USA)

' … the essential facts are instantly available … better written, more concise and intelligent.' The Daily Telegraph

'… a massive production and very thorough … the work is to be praised as a triumph of publishing technology as well as for sheer intelligence and rigour of co-operation between Crystal and his associates.' Anthony Burgess

'An impressive achievement …' Good Book Guide

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Casmbridge Encyclopedia 18 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was to replace my 1992 copy;I was very surprised to find the copy supplied by you was older (1991) than my original
and very out of date by 20 Years.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but... 6 April 2000
By Michael J. Jones - Published on
...for the same amount of money you can get the Columbia Enclyclopedia, twice as many pages. Cambridge has the advantage of a more recent edition, but Columbia is still the top choice unless you need information about really current events.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still too many errors 13 Mar 2013
By Khalid Ikram - Published on
I was pleased to obtain a one-volume encyclopedia that I thought would be up-to-date and, most importantly, accurate. This product has a lot of very good points, but still cannot be relied on for accuracy. Even a quick glance through some of the entries showed up some glaring errors. Thus, Al Azhar, said to be the oldest continuously used university in the world, was founded in 972, and not 1972. Jahangir Khan won the British Open squash championship 10 consecutive times, not 8 times. The Nobel Laureate in Economics 1996 was William Vickrey, not Vikrey. And so on. I do hope the next edition, if there is one, will be proof-read more carefully.
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific 2 Sep 2009
By OzBadman - Published on
The information they choose to include in this single voulme is very well selected. Most subjects that come to mind are covered which is amazing for a single book. The content per item is concise and relevant. The writing is also vibrant (unlike The World Book series). Congratulations to the Editorial team. Ideal for a quick lookup book when you you just want the initial background information. If you need more, go to the internet.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars spread too thin 7 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on
I'm perplexed that this encyclopedia managed to go through four editions, considering how brief and unhelpful its entries are. Most of them are only 50 to 100 words in length. And rather than pick and choose some topics to explore in more depth, the editors decided to give everything shallow coverage.
Worse, they don't even use those few words per entry wisely. Instead of giving the essential facts, they go for obscure details that will only mean something to people who are already familiar with the subject. This defeats the purpose of a general-use encyclopedia -- to introduce a subject and give the reader some basic understanding. Even my paperback New American Desk Encyclopedia surpasses this work by that standard, though it has less entries.
I do not recommend this book.
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