Encyclopedias, according to the encyclopedia, are books containing basic knowledge in all areas of life. Many publications have answered that description in their time, from the medieval compendiums to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, first published in 1768, to three contemporary one-volume works. Which one of that trio is best? It depends on the size of the reader's requirements, bank account and bookshelf:
THE RANDOM HOUSE ENCYCLOPEDIA
2,912 pages; $129.95
The third edition of The Random House Encyclopedia weighs as much as a standard Christmas turkey (12 lbs. 5 oz.) but provides longer-lasting nourishment. On its pages are some 3 million words of...