Author: Marc McCutcheon
Age/Audience: Adults, teens interested in historic writing
Read If You Like: Quick guides for 19th century vocabulary and concepts
Less guide and more encyclopedia, this book is a desk staple. A strong feature is the way topics are covered via period quotes. For example, the entry on dental health discusses the general practice across the 1800s, but also includes quotes from 1784, 1798, 1838, and 1859 to show changes in perceptions. It also includes a chart on general medical fees from the period. The resource include quick definitions for slang terms and titles, but some entries are more robust, receiving almost a whole page (for example, bicycling). Terms are listed alphabetically within their theme-based chapter. The book wraps up with what may be the most helpful for some writers: chronologies. There is a chronology of well known books, magazines, innovations, and songs. This is particularly helpful for anyone worried about anachronistic technologies or quotes popping up in their writing.
Five-stars: an exceptionally useful desk reference. Not the best for long reading sessions but invaluable for editing sessions.