Recently our fearless leader, George Ferzoco, commended _The Oxford
Companion to the Year_ (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), ISBN
0-19-214231-3. This is, indeed, a delightful work, and I now rejoice to
have a copy in my clutches.
However, I must caution everyone to read it cum grano salis, as it contains
some bloopers. The entry for 3 January, for example, lists that date as
the day on which, in 1959, Alabama was admitted as the 49th state to the
United States. This should be "Alaska" rather than "Alabama ". (As the
entry for 14 December correctly indicates, Alabama was admitted as the 22nd
state on 14 December 1819.)
Substantive errata are, I suppose, inevitable in a book of this magnitude.
Sadly, though, even minor inaccuracies shake one's faith in the balance of
the text. This is, after all, a *reference* work, designed to be
authoritative. And although it is undoubtedly 99.9% accurate, not knowing
where that 0.1% lies undermines the implicit trust which should, if
justified by the quality of the information, allow the reader to accept the
data without needing to verify it from other sources.
Still, it *is* a fun text.