Education: The Colorpedia Americana

A new reference book enticingly mixes facts and fluff

A one-volume encyclopedia should be bigger than a breadbox and smaller than the British Museum. By these criteria, The Random House Encyclopedia (2,856 pages; $69.95) triumphs. At almost twelve pounds, it may be too cumbersome for bedtime perusing, but at least a forklift is not required to hoist it to the pillow. And the R.H.E. is consistently light in tone. Its editors and the 800-plus others who worked on the book have assembled more than 3 million words, but they have also inserted nearly 12,000...

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