rusq: Vol. 53 Issue 3: p. 274
Sources: Capital Cities around the World: An Encyclopedia of Geography, History and Culture
Edith A. Scarletto

Subject Librarian for Geography & Geology, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

This title is rather unique in its treatment of world capital cities. Many other encyclopedias and treatments of world cities exist, but the present volume provides a singular discussion of each world capital noting its historical overview, major landmarks, the basics of the culture and society, as well as further readings.

The strengths of the title include its alphabetical arrangement and the brief but thorough discussion of its cultural and physical geography. Along with the cultural situation within the country, region, and the world, this work gives the reader a clear picture of the geopolitical condition of the city. Photographs are interspersed throughout providing good contextual detail to the various landmarks and landscapes of the cities. Another strength is the inclusion of additional readings provided at the end of each entry. These are specifically chosen to be in English and most are from scholarly journals in geography and related disciplines.

A similar work, Kurian’s World Encyclopedia of Cities (ABC-Clio, 1994), provides more detail in terms of statistics and less of the culture is presented with context. Also, Kurian reviews all cities of the world, not specifically capitals, thus the need for two volumes. The additional readings listed for these entries present more historical and less geographical content than Cybriwsky. Another similar title is Capitols of the World by Walter Lewis Zorn (Munro, 1955) and obviously out of date.

This reference work is ideal for quickly comparing and contrasting capitals in similar areas or for quickly finding the history and the geography of an area. The coverage is even and consistent, whether a city or country is small or large, the length of the articles are very similar. In this way, each entry presents a balanced approach to the topic. Occasionally, long standing independent or autonomous groups within countries are also added to the capital entry for the more recognized country.

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