Standard Nelson fare: sensible versions of about 280 globetrotters' favorites, not always the last word in authenticity but not utterly dependent on canned gunk either. There is also good reading in a soup-through-the-ages preliminary history and the eleven chapter-introductions. (Did you know, for instance, that a bill was once introduced in the Maine state legislature to forbid the use of tomatoes in clam chowder?) The range is tremendous: old warhorses (French onion soup, Jewish cold borscht), regional specialties (Philadelphia pepper-pot soup, Pennsylvania Dutch chicken-corn soup, Louisiana gumbos, the aforementioned Down East clam chowder as well as the Manhattan version), a huge number of cosmopolitan adventures (from African cream of peanut soup to Vietnamese pho, with many exotic detours in between), and a few last-resort canned combinations. The account of basic stocks is not exactly encyclopedic, but neither is that in Jeannette Seaver's similar though less inclusive Soups. Pleasant, well-gauged.