Do you remember the World Book Encyclopedia? I do. I thought those days were gone, replaced by wikis, web sites and Google. Yet here comes the Almanac of American Philanthropy, a massive 1,300 page tome from the Philanthropy Roundtable’s Karl Zinsmeister.

Mr. Zinsmeister has devoted considerable space to the greatest American donors of all time (think W.K. Kellogg, Sebastian Kresge, Henry Ford, Benjamin Franklin, etc.), and he has given the bulk of the volume over to reviewing the major achievements of American philanthropy divided into nine areas, such as medicine, religion, public policy, etc.). And there is a useful review of the philanthropy literature.

All of this comes with the Roundtable’s conservative donor-focused perspective.

As an almanac, this piece is eminently readable, filled mostly with short one or two page summaries of donors, foundations, successful grants, and leading nonprofits.

In sum, this book is a marvel and anyone interested in philanthropy would derive nearly endless joy paging through this wonderful contribution to our field.