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The World Encyclopedia of Christmas Paperback – Oct 5 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart; 1 edition (Oct. 5 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771015356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771015359
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 19.7 x 26.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 862 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #400,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover
I must correct a typographical error. I stated that there were 227 numbered text pages. There are actually 257.
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Format: Hardcover
The positive side: This encyclopedia is quite comprehensive, with more than 1,000 entries that cover a wide range of subjects in relatively small space (257 numbered text pages). The subjects span the entire period from the manger to the twentieth century with history, customs, traditions, mythical spirits that bring gifts, holiday symbols, a host of foreign countries, carols, songs, literary works, and items in the popular media such as movies, animated cartoons, and television specials. The book is copiously illustrated. Almost every page includes quality black-and-white pictures and photographs reflecting period content, and there are some sixteen additional pages of full color plates depicting Christmas paintings by eminent artists. Entries discussing foreign countries present respective customs and cuisine, and a separate entry lists phrases for "Merry Christmas" in some 85 foreign languages. Carols and songs in the public domain (copyright has expired) include printed lyrics, and many entries for literary works reproduce considerable passages of prose or poetry. Entries focusing on history, ancient traditions, and foreign countries are by far the strong points of this book.
The negative side: The encyclopedia attempts to cram too many entries into too little space. The result is that many so-called "entries" are reduced to nothing more than brief definitions of terms, objects, or persons. Lyrics to copyrighted songs are absent. With a few exceptions, entries discussing popular media subjects provide scant information beyond the bare essentials of author/lyricist/composer, dates, places, director, or principal actors. Generally lacking are human-interest details or background notes (how or why the story, movie, or song came into existence), or detailed plot descriptions. The most serious deficiencies are the lack of an index and lack of a bibliography, two basic elements requisite in any reputable reference work.
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Format: Hardcover
I had heard about this book from a friend and didn't believe it could be so comprehensive or complete. When I saw it in the local bookstore, I was astonished at the breadth and depth of coverage of Christmas and the many customs which are associated with it from all around the world.
Over Christmas, a family discussion of Christmas activities in cultures not familiar to my own resulted in a look at the appropriate item in the encyclopedia, followed by a virtual cornucopia of additional reading as everyone suggested inquiries and questions, all of which were referenced. Hats off to Dr. Bowler!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic book for Christmas lovers. Bowler covers a wide range of Christmas customs from around the globe, and includes everything from the words of Christmas carols, poems, and sayings, to Christmas film reviews, stamps, and other things merry that have created the holiday season around Christmas and New Years. This isn't a dry work of academia either, Gerry Bowler's wit shines through in a number of passages. This book is a welcome addition to the world of Christmas and a definite must-have!
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Format: Hardcover
Witty and authoritative, the World Encyclopaedia of Christmas is not only fun for casual reading but it has also served me well as a resourceful reference book. With such a wide array of entries including movies, an exhaustive history of Christmas, important historical events, ethnic traditions and carols, I was unable to find anything about Christmas that wasn't there! This comprehensive book exceeded all my expectations and made this my must read for the Christmas season and beyond. It is definitely going to be a Christmas gift in my family!
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