AMERICAN NATIONAL BIOGRAPHY, Oxford University Press, $2,500.

More than 10 years in the making, this 24-volume, 20-million word, 23,000-page reference work provides a collective portrait of the men and women whose lives have shaped America’s history. Published under the auspices of the American Council of Learned Societies, it is the first biographical dictionary of such scope to be printed in more than 60 years. The monumental academic achievement is comprised of 17,450 biographies written by 6,100 distinguished scholars and writers.