The Current Issues subset of the Compact Research series presents different points of view on topics students may be researching for papers or debates. Brightened with colorful graphics and charts as well as the occasional photo, each volume opens with a broad overview followed by four chapters and sections of related quotes and statistics. Drugs and Sports looks at performance-enhancing substances and testing policies for students and professional athletes. Back matter in each book includes a chronology, annotated lists of "Related Organizations" and "Key People and Advocacy Groups," and bibliographies of books, periodicals, reports, films, and Internet sources. The books' "Primary Source Quotes" sections, which define the term primary source rather broadly, offer quotes out of context (and sometimes with ellipses or bracketed additions) and identify their sources. Each volume's cover uses the same design and photos. Although the books' reading level is higher than the colorful, accessible format suggests, students may find the books more usable than the densely packed essays in comparable series.
The first book discusses how conclusive the science is in solving crimes, whether DNA testing is effective for correcting justice-system errors, whether prisoners have a right to such testing, and whether databases of samples threaten civil liberties. The second examines whether drug abuse is a serious problem among athletes, how effective drug-testing policies are, whether more rigorous testing is needed for student athletes, and whether drug use should be legalized in competitive sports. Several pages of primary-source quotes, including excerpts from newspaper and magazine articles that interview law enforcement personnel, lawyers, families, and others, are included at the end of each chapter. In addition, the narratives include quotes from other relevant parties, all making the books helpful for reports, debate research, and general interest. Numerous brightly colored, easy-to-read graphs, charts, and maps enhance the coverage. Both books have solid end matter that includes listings of key people and advocacy groups, and related organizations.
—Debbie S. Hoskins, Grand Rapids Public Library, MI