"Selected as a 2005 RUSA outstanding reference source, the new edition of
this long-standing favorite aids our understanding of the ideas that make up
Western culture. Expanding on the original Dictionary of the History of
Ideas (1974), edited by Philip Wiener, the New Dictionary has a broader
scope introducing global- and gender-neutral perspectives not present in its
Eurocentric predecessor. Academic excellence and scholarship don't keep this
six-volume set from interesting the lay reader. The 700 accessible articles
present new material, with original entries on feminism and antifeminism,
queer theory, and nongender topics like diversity, social capital, and third
cinema. Standard subjects, like beauty and love, are treated at length in
the earlier set and simply updated in the new version to include late
20th-century ideas and non-Western thought. Each entry explores origin,
cultural interpretations, and historical themes. The alphabetical
arrangement is not an impediment to cross-disciplinary study, since a
reader's guide and full index present material in a topical framework.
Bottom Line This delightful foray into humankind's ideas, from abolitionism
to Zionism, is a bargain highly recommended as an essential purchase for
academic libraries. Public libraries of all sizes would also greatly benefit
from its one-stop-shopping approach to the philosophy of ideas."
--Library Journal, April 2005
— Library Journal
"This set’s impressive depth is illustrated by entries like "Text/Textuality" next to "Textiles and Fiber Arts" as "Catalysts for Ideas." Summing up: Highly recommended. Academic and Research Libraries."
--Choice, July/August 2005
"Browsing through the set, we see articles on democracy, evil, feminism, gay studies, middle eastern notions of humor, liberalism and social Darwinism. New topics that are gender and global-inclusive include Afrocentricity, critical race theory, man and masculinity and yin/yang. There are even a series of visual essays which use images rather than words. This is a great place to send a new generation of students, either in print or as an eBook."
--Library Journal, (Library Journal, Best Reference Sources 2005), April 2006
— Library Journal
"This is an entirely new work rather than a mere revision, featuring more than twice as many articles as the original (well over 700 as compared to just over 300) as well as a more definite global view of the topics covered when compared to the Eurocentric nature of the older set. Just as telling, reflecting the scholarly shift over the past 30 years, are entries that no longer exist, such as Baconianism; Faith, hope, and charity; and Uniformitarianism and catastrophism. Although the original edition was not entirely bereft of illustrations, they were sparse. Not so with this edition: black-and-white illustrations are scattered throughout, most notably in entries such as Architecture, Humanity in the arts, Iconography, and Maps and the ideas they express.
The detailed "Reader’s Guide" is a good companion to the index, which occupies more than 200 pages. Articles conclude with up-to-date bibliographies (often divided into primary and secondary sources) and see also references. The casual reader will likely miss an entry often referred to in various cross-references: the 54-page essay Historiography, which is placed just after the preface in volume 1 rather than in the main alphabetic arrangement. It would have been helpful to mention this placement in the see also references.
This is a well-written set that will appeal to anyone interested in the topic. This well-written set is highly recommended for large public and academic libraries. In all, well worth the 30-year wait."
--Booklist, May 2005
"An entirely new work, rather than a mere revision, it features of twice as many articles as the original, as well as a more definite global view."
--Booklist, February 2006
— Book Crossing
"Sure to become a standard in reference collections this set will be a great addition to all academic and large public libraries."
--ARBA, March 2006