"This three-volume reference (which complements the three-volume American history through literature, 1870-1920) presents lengthy essays on works and themes in literature that contextualize them within their historical milieu. Essays are also included on genres of the time, historical events, individual cities and places, and religion. A sampling of individual essay topics includes dialect, fur trade, manhood, and captivity narratives. As they are easily found in other reference works, author biographies are omitted. Essays on individual works delve into the critical reception of the work while also describing the representation within the work of a specific theme or event. Many b&w images are included. The essays will appeal to wide range of readers, from high school and college students to the general reader. The contributors teach English or history, mainly in the US."
--Booknews.com, May 2007