The Civil Rights Movement in America: From Black Nationalism to the Women’s Political Council. Edited by Peter B. Levy. Movements of the American Mosaic. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2015. 427 pages. Acid free $89 (ISBN: 978-1-61069-761-3). E-book available (978-1-61069-762-0), call for pricing.

In light of several reference works on the Civil Rights Movement having been published in the past decade, selectors may not be inclined to purchase a new offering on the topic. Nonetheless, recent publications should be carefully considered for content that has been previously overlooked or has gained resonance in recent years. The work under review is a well written, basic window into the African American Civil Rights Movement appropriate for high school and beginning college level research. As part of the Movements of the American Mosaic series, it complements volumes on the Latino and Indian rights movements. Besides the 120 encyclopedic entries, there is a section of primary documents, including the text of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and letters and addresses from the period, as well as a well-crafted index, some illustrations, and a bibliography after each entry.

Another reference book, Historical Dictionary of the Civil Rights Movement (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), edited by Christopher M. Richardson and Ralph E. Luker, was published last year and may be more useful for a broader range of college level research. While having nearly the same number of pages, Richardson and Luker provide roughly five hundred entries, over four times the number in the work under review. Librarians would need to decide whether they prefer a smaller number of entries explored in some depth or a much larger number of topics with more concise write ups. Another factor to consider is that Levy took a mostly biographical approach with some ancillary entries on places, events, and organizations. The other work is more even regarding type of subject matter covered. Based on the small number of entries, Levy’s book has notable omissions. For instance, Marian Anderson is excluded and despite the ubiquitous threat from the Ku Klux Klan during key parts of the Civil Rights Era, there is no entry for the organization. Other features that would have furthered the work are a chronology and a more extensive introduction. With such a brief introduction, the reader would have to have some familiarity with the topic before using this volume. While Levy’s work is relatively solid, the selector will need to decide whether this book is the right fit for their collection based upon existing needs as well as other books available in the marketplace.—Brent D. Singleton, Coordinator for Reference Services, California State University, San Bernardino


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