This is one of the latest products of the Clio Press’s “World Bibliographical Series,” a project that has already published books dealing with a number of Latin American countries and is designed to eventually produce volumes treating every country in the world. The compiler, Graham J. Shields, is a librarian at the University of Bradford and a devotee of Spanish themes.
His book is aimed at the “informed general reader,” but it also intended to be of use to students (as indeed, it will be). It attempts broad comprehensive coverage of Spanish topics and is subdivided into numerous categories. The lengthiest section is devoted to history (49 pages), followed by empire, geography, languages and dialects, society, religion, politics, literature, the arts, tourism, and a number of smaller areas. Though topical coverage is fairly comprehensive, the actual bibliographical coverage must perforce be relatively selective in order to hold the annotated listings within a 300-page book.
The primary criterion has been to choose the principal works on each topic in English, though a few Spanish-language publications are included, and a small amount of periodical literature is also incorporated to deal with specific items not fully covered by books. The selection is generally judicious, though the criteria for the choice of the very small number of Spanish works that are included remain unclear. Each item is briefly annotated in a generally helpful way. Since Shields is selecting what he judges to be the best material, his capsule evaluations tend to be positive and sometimes overgenerous, and specialists will find them occasionally questionable on specific books.
It is easy to criticize individual aspects of selective bibliographies, but, in view of the dearth of such publications on Spain, students will find the present guide a useful new study tool. It can also be consulted profitably even by specialists for topics other than their own.