28th January 2000 at 00:00
THE A-Z OF WORLD DEVELOPMENT. Compiled by Andy Crump. Edited by Wayne Ellwood. New Internationalist pound;24.95. CD-Rom pound;29.95. Book + CD-Rom pound;49.99. 294pp. THE WORLD GUIDE. Editor in Chief Robert Bissio. New Internationalist. pound;24.95, CD-Rom pound;39.95, Book + CD-Rom pound;59.99. 627pp.

Every work of reference has its ideological tendency - covert or acknowledged. These books are written from a Third World perspective, avowedly on the side of poorer nations and suspicious of the dominant multinational economy and its agencies. But they are no less useful and comprehensive for that.

The A-Z of World Development is an encyclopaedic compilation of more than 600 articles and over 250 photographs. From Aborigines to Zionism, it gives succinct explanations and definitions for the reader who wants to understand the influences at large in a rapidly changng globe: institutions and their acronyms, diseases, leaders, concepts such as monetarism and migrant labour, and technical achievements - although plastic is strangely absent.

The World Guide is a vast collaborative endeavour. Atits heart is an index of all the countries of the world, reviewing their history and the political, environmental and economic issues they face, backed up with essential statistics. British nationalists may be perturbed to find Falkland Islands under the heading Argentina and the name Malvinas.

The CD-Roms contain a wealth of additional material that can be downloaded for essays and research projects. Students of geography and social studies will find both books provocative, illuminating and invaluable.

Tom Deveson

Distributed by Carel, 4 Hewson St, Carlisle, CA2 5AU. Tel: 01228 538928

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