This book provides whatever you want to know in 2008. It includes general information from Gordon Brown to the Gordian Knot Science - Darwinism to dark matter, the Big Bang to bird flu. It is a complete sporting almanac and literary companion "Who's who" and has been who throughout history Prize winners: Olympics to Oscars, Nobel to Grand National Colour World Atlas and Gazetteer Medical matters, the Environment and Economics Ideas and beliefs - acupuncture to Zoroastrianism - elucidated Dictionaries of Art, Music and Cinema Practical Pension, Mortgage and Tax Advice World Affairs from Iran to Hugo Chavez. What is Pears? First published in 1897, "Pears Shilling Cyclopaedia" contained topics ranging from useful facts to questions of etiquette and a compendium of 'curious and useful information about things everyone ought to know in commerce, history, science, religion, literature and other topics of ordinary conversation.' Now 110 years later, "Pears" is still informing, intriguing and surprising new generations of readers with its mixture of up-to-the-minute facts and figures and little-known curiosities and it is the only book of its kind to be annually updated by experts.
It combines accurate topical facts with a century's worth of accumulated knowledge. Far from just a yearly overview, this is the up-to-the-minute one-volume source. "Pears" is as British as cricket (there's coverage of the Ashes, World Cup and 40 years of Test results), Shakespeare (a useful precis of all his plays) and, of course, Britpop (an illuminating paragraph on musical style, history and the bands).
This is Dr Christopher Cook's 30th year as general editor of Pears. Educated at Oxford and Cambridge, he has combined an academic career with a wide variety of writing and editorial work. His many books include Britain in the Depression and the Routledge Companion to World History. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.