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Britain against Napoleon by Carola Oman
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Britain against Napoleon

by Carola Oman

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For her friend Carola Oman, Georgette Heyer compiled the index: to Oman's Britain against Napoleon. It appears a fine, full, proper piece of work. The index takes 16 pages, for 353 pages of text. It is informative—all names and titles are given in full, with supplementary facts, even when the resultant length may seem disproportionate to the page references:
Bentinck, William Henry Cavendish, 3rd Duke of Portland, First Lord of the Treasury, 1807-1809, 280 Muffling, General Baron von, Prussian Military Commissioner to British Army in 1815, confers with Wellington, 332.
Major topics are broken up by subheadings. The entry for 'Napoleon I, Emperor of the French', takes two columns of subheadings, mostly with only one page reference, arranged strictly by order of occurrence in the text. Subheadings generally are carefully selected, requiring full consideration of the text; for example:
Navy, British, Mutiny at the Nore, 64; conditions in, 64, 65; condition of ships, 176; strength of at Trafalgar, 238; Napoleon's praise of, 347.
There are helpful cross-references from titles and pseudonyms to names, and from alternative spellings.
People with the same name are properly differentiated and identified. There are classified entries, listing Battles (in chronological order, with dates); Battleships, British; Battleships, French; Caricatures, of...; Foreign Affairs, Secretary of State for, see (names and dates given); and others.
The changes in indexing practice of forty years show particularly in terminology and punctuation. No colons mark off main headings from subheadings, as shown above after 'Navy, British'. An unusual convention is the distinctive use of commas between consecutive page references and semi-colons for breaks in page sequence (as in the example below). Et seq. is used. Perhaps there is a touch of verbosity in: Austen, Jane, allusions to the works of, 176; 298
Black Hole of Calcutta, mention of, 1 57.
Really, though, this proves to be a competent and helpful index, whose quality was recognized by the book's author in the following proper acknowledgement, printed unusually and conspicuously at the end of the index:
The author desires to record her most grateful thanks to the maker of the Index—Georgette Heyer.
added by KayCliff | editThe Indexer, Hazel K. Bell (Apr 1, 1990)
 
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