- Hardcover: 1008 pages
- Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 16th edition edition (10 August 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0226104206
- ISBN-13: 978-0226104201
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 5.8 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,20,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Chicago Manual of Style 16e Hardcover – 10 Aug 2010
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"Just like its revered print version, this resource is user-friendly and well organized online.... Those accustomed to the book form will appreciate the hyperlinks in the Table of Contents that allow users to go directly to a specific section. Priced to fit any budget." - Library Journal, four-star review"
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Kidding aside, THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE is the definitive guide to style and usage worldwide. One may argue with journalist and marketing wonks about the virtues of AP, APA, AMA, MLA, and similar style guides, but all pale in comparison to Chicago (well, if you work for a newspaper or magazine, forget that last part and stick with AP). Though some reviews on Amazon note a difficulty finding information because the book is so freaking huge, I've found the index to be fairly comprehensive with one caveat—if you never actually read any of the book but go to it occasionally for problems, you are much less likely to find what you are looking for than if you actually study sections of the book to understand where things are. Locations are logical, but you won't necessarily find every last discussion of numeral versus number in a single place. For instance, issues of spacing and indenting for references will show up in Notes and Bibliographies sections rather than in sections on formatting and punctuation. But the index is helpful there as well.
And one other note. If you really do want a go-to source that is not so weighty, I recommend buying a subscription to The Chicago Manual of Style online. From there one can search by keywords, find additional information on the discussion boards, and access the entire CMS online. The online subscription is not really cheaper than the book because it renews annually, but it should salve some frustration in finding things if you find yourself lost in the thicket.
If you are an editor or have aspirations to become one (why, oh why, do you desire such misery?), you must own this book. Unequivocally. Own. This. Book. Period. One cannot succeed as an editor without it (again, maybe at a newspaper, but for fiction, this is the bible). The entire fiction (and most of the nonfiction) publishing industry follows Chicago style or house styles that are slightly modified versions of it. And every agent and editor in fiction expects than manuscripts follow Chicago style. If you think you can pass an editing test without knowing the nuances covered in this book, you'll find yourself proven wrong time and again.
If you are a writer and want your writing to shine, at least technically, you should have a cursory understanding of this book at a minimum. It can't do much for hackishness, wordiness, and overall storytelling roteness, but at least the drivel will be unassailably correct even when boring readers to tears. In my experience, however, no amount of prodding will convince writers that they need this book, since most don't even own a dictionary (or if they do, they don't actually use it, which is perplexing given their stated occupation). So I'll lower my sights and recommend Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Chicago's preferred dictionary for all spelling and meaning disputes. You can't go wrong with that dictionary (and they have an online version, too).
Some of the more persnickety aspects of usage, for those so inclined and because Chicago does not always go into exhaustive discussions about particular elements of usage and what is most current in a given context, are covered quite well by Garner's Modern English Usage. Garner does go through such things in exhaustive detail, which is awesome when you have a truly esoteric dilemma.
You can't consider yourself a pro without knowing much of its contents either by poring over the volume or having the lessons drummed into your head by a senior editor who absorbed the contents by reading it or having it or repackaged versions (newspaper/magazine style guides) slammed on his/her head for straying from the standard.
Back in the gruesome days of linotype, the squiggles, pointers, loops and slashes provided shorthand instruction to typesetters and galley men who set lead columns on pages.
None of that is needed now but communication among editors, proofreaders and the writer remains all important and so are the standards that help eliminate readers' confusion.
In an era when self-published writers go to print without a traditional editor and a few small publishing houses are not staffed by fully seasoned editors, The Chicago Manual Of Style is irreplaceable as a reference tool.