This first-rate, professionally sound, and invitingly handsome reference work covers most of Asia, including various past and present countries of this region, and comprehensively deals with historical events, the people, places, books, religion, ideas (Marxism, shamanism), music, and phenomena (e.g., slavery, famine, writing systems). Although it emphasizes the last 300 years, all periods are presented; maps are clear and adequate in number. The index is thorough and almost every entry has a useful short list of further readings. A sound and accessible work for the researcher, the advanced high school student, or the prospective tourist. Belongs in any library's reference collection. Charles W. Hayford, Northwestern Univ., Evanston, Ill.