From a trainspotter point of view, it's fantastic to find one book, admittedly a doorstop of a tome, that discusses authoritatively Digital Television, selling football internationally, E-Commerce and the Big Brother Phenomenon--George Orwell not Channel Four. The Hutchinson Encyclopaedia, 2001
is one such work. Highly illustrated, multi-coloured, large format pages entice the reader to learn about everything from Abba to Sick Building Syndrome.
The Encyclopaedia begins by introducing a new feature--21 specialist subjects, each 1-3 pages in length, which cover the broad spectrum of significant current affairs, scientific, cultural and popular topics. It ends with a useful, concise Factfile, full of chronological lists of prizes, religious events, sports, leaders and government and important measurement leagues--such as the highest population, largest cities and currency tables. The short entries, which form the main body of the book, are arranged alphabetically in an easy-to-read, well-designed format and are extensively cross-referenced. Colour illustrations, photographs, timelines, tables and maps break up the text. In addition, there are Focus feature articles on a range of subjects, from "Seeing the Universe", "Gandhi and Indian Independence", to "Leonardo da Vinci" and "The Break-up of the USSR", all by experts in the field.
The 2001 edition of The Hutchinson Encyclopaedia has been updated extensively to give the reader accurate information in an efficient, readable way. This is the kind of book that shouldn't be viewed in a hurry; set aside a few evenings and swot up on those subjects you always wanted to know more about. As a veritable mine of information The Hutchinson Encyclopaedia is an investment at £40.00, but it would be difficult to disagree with The Financial Times's assessment that "looking up a subject is a pleasure". Believe me, it is. --Aruna Vasudevan