The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs To Know

October 30, 2020
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs To Know

In this fast-paced information age, how can Americans knowwhat's really important and what's just a passing fashion? Now morethan ever, we need a source that concisely sums up the knowledgethat matters to Americans — the people, places, ideas, and eventsthat shape our cultural conversation. With more than six thousandentries,The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy is thatinvaluable source.Wireless technology. Gene therapy. NAFTA. In addition to thethousands of terms described in the original Dictionary ofCultural Literacy, here are more than five hundred new entriesto bring Americans' bank of essential knowledge up to date. Theoriginal entries have been fully revised to reflect recent changesin world history and politics, American literature, and,especially, science and technology. Cultural icons that have stoodthe test of time (Odysseus, Leaves of Grass, Cleopatra,the Taj Mahal, D-Day) appear alongside entries on such variedconcerns as cryptography, the digital divide, the European Union,Kwanzaa, pheromones, SPAM, Type A and Type B personalities, Webbrowsers, and much, much more.As our world becomes more global and interconnected, it growssmaller through the terms and touchstones that unite us. As E. D.Hirsch writes in the preface, "Community is built up of sharedknowledge and values — the same shared knowledge that is taken forgranted when we read a book or newspaper, and that is also takenfor granted as part of the fabric that connects us to one another."A delicious concoction of information for anyone who wants to be inthe know, The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacybrilliantly confirms once again that it is "an excellent piece ofwork . . . stimulating and enlightening" (New York Times)— the most definitive and comprehensive family sourcebook of itskind.