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Merril D. Smith, Encyclopedia of Rape

Posted on: September 30, 2007

Merril D. Smith, Encyclopedia of Rape
Greenwood Press | ISBN: 0313326878 | August 30, 2004 | 336 pages | PDF | 1.5 MB

Rape has been considered a crime and significant cultural event since ancient times, cited as far back as the Code of Hammurabi. It is part of mythology, the Bible, and current ethnic wars. In many cultures even today, the aggrieved party is the father or husband rather than the victimized woman, but its victims can be men as well as women and children. It is, as the introduction to this volume states, “much more than the actual physical act.”

For this volume, 79 contributors drawn mainly from academia have produced 186 entries, all with suggested readings, that examine the topic of rape from as many aspects as possible: legal, historical, and social, to name a few. Most of the entries are a page in length or more and have a decided American focus, though entries such as Comfort women, Genocide, and War crimes approach the issue from a more global perspective. There are several biographical entries for leading feminists, legal scholars, and rape victims, such as the Central Park jogger. Each of the current date-rape drugs also has an entry.

The volume begins with a “Chronology of Selected Rape-Related Events,” an alphabetical list of all the entries, and a topical list of entries. Extensive cross-references and an index help with access. A “Resource Guide” lists important books, Web sites, organizations, and films. The entries themselves maintain an informative and dispassionate tone despite the highly charged nature of the information provided. This timely and useful–though disturbing–volume should have a place in all libraries concerned with women’s and criminal justice issues.

Review
“In an exceptional encyclopedia, Smith has created an invaluable, highly accessible guide to terminology, history, and current issues surrounding rape. The alphabetically arranged entries cover the physiological, political, and psychological aspects of rape, and supply biographical sketches of notorious rapists and their victims from ancient times to the present. The language used is at times graphic, and by its nature the volume is intended for adult readers, but entries are written with an unflinching regard for facts, avoiding sensationalism….Users at all levels will find this volume a useful resource for scholarly information on recent high-profile rape cases, and it will also serve as an entry point for further research on rape and its subtopics. Highly recommended. General and academic readers.”–Choice

“Starred Review This carefully researched work will serve as an excellent introduction to the subject for an student. Highly recommended for public, college, and high school libraries.”–Library Journal

“The authors’ straightforward writing styles contribute greatly to the success of this resource. The one- to two-page entries are written with high-school and college students as well as general readers in mind. Each entry provides a basic overview that often includes references to historical events or people, legislation, or other issues explored in the book. Numerous cross-references, in bold type, supply links to other topics that may be of interest….The Encyclopedia of Rape is an excellent general overview of various topics relating to rape. Highly recommended for public, academic, and high-school libraries.”–Feminist Collections

“This useful guide is highly relevant to public and academic libraries.”–Lawrence Looks at Books

“This timely and useful–though disturbing–volume should have a place in all libraries concerned with women’s and criminal justice issues.”–Booklist/Reference Books Bulletin

“Any college-level collection strong in social issues or women’s issues will want to include the invaluable Encyclopedia of Rape in their collection.”–MBR Bookwatch Donovan’s Bookshelf
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