Here is the review I wrote two plus years ago in the thread linked below. I don't disagree with anything I wrote then, having given it a quick lookover:
"The latest addition to the Great Filmmakers series, this reasonably hefty tome on Orson Welles contains some useful information, and a fair bit of fluff. The book is set up like a standard reference work, with entries arranged alphabetically. The writers (eight all told) attempt to cover the breadth and depth of Welles' multifaceted artistic life, but still manage to leave holes and add useless material.
The book seems not to have been concisely edited; entries are not always cross-referenced, perhaps because different people were writing different entries that might have been linked. For example, the entry on the Mercury Summer Theater radio series mentions that the opening show, "Around the World in 80 Days," uses some of the Cole Porter music from the stage production Welles was mounting at the same time. The entry on the stage production makes no mention of this fact, which is an odd exclusion, given that one can actually hear the original cast members peforming on the radio show, making it one of the few fragments of a Welles theater production we have in any form.
Also, excessive space is dedicated to topics not deserving of it; Carole Lombard gets about a column's worth of material-her connection to Welles? Being unable to take a role in Smiler With a Knife (as well as the Campbell Playhouse, though this latter fact goes understandably unmentioned). The rest of her entry is dedicated to covering her career, which is fine, but is this really worth covering? How many other stars turned down or were unable to accept roles in Welles' projects? Warren Beatty was among those who refused The Big Brass Ring, yet he doesn't merit an entry. Why then Lombard? And why give an entry not only to The Dean Martin Comedy Show, but to ol' Deano himself? Were Welles' appearances on the show really that important?
And why spend almost two pages on Steven Spielberg, whose connection to Welles consists of buying one of the Rosebud sleds from Kane and refusing to fund The Cradle Will Rock? Aren't these bits of trivia best mentioned in the respective entries on those terms? Instead we get a lengthy recap of Spielberg's career that is unnecessary in the context of this book, and made ridiculous by discussing Spielberg and his generation of filmmakers as profoundly influenced by Welles, but never really going into exactly how that influence worked, beyond giving them the desire to make movies. Was the four page entry on Francis Ford Coppola necessary, which spends much of its space enunciating the differences between Welles' Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now?
Finally, there are the omissions, chief amongst them the lack of any mention of the Lear sponsored commentary show Welles made from September 1945 to October 1946, which included one of Welles' most notorious and noteworthy incidents, the Isaac Woodard case. The predecessor to Lear, a series to be sponsored by Eversharp Pens, goes likewise unmentioned. In another bizarre omission, the entry on Don Quixote fails to mention the Jess Franco edited release of 1992, and most of Welles' unfinished/lost projects, like The Merchant of Venice, are left out as well. There are small errors as well, such as the brief entry for Confidential Report, which the book states as an alternate title for Mr. Arkadin, rather than an alternate version, a rather large difference. The Lady From Shanghai entry describes Welles as overseeing new music being added to the film, which if true certainly doesn't explain why Welles wrote a lengthy memo to Columbia detailing the myriad ways in which the music of Heinz Roemheld and the sound design overall were awful.
Lest I come off as being completely down on this book, let me state a few positives, namely some of the smaller elements of Welles' career that were covered, such as Diana Bourbon, the ad agency rep Welles worked with on The Campbell Playhouse, and The Lady in the Ice, the little known ballet that Welles staged in London in 1953. Overall, the book covers virtually all of the main actors who worked with Welles in his various pursuits (although no Glenn Anders?), and even covers the biographers and critics that have written about him as well. (Though it should be mentioned that the use of line drawings on many occasions instead of photos, presumably a budget-related choice, was not a particularly good one.)
While not as exhaustive as one would hope, The Encyclopedia of Orson Welles is an even-handed look at a confusing, complicated career. By no means perfect, the book is still of use as a quick reference tool, though many topics will require further investigation for a deeper understanding."
Encyclopedia of Orson Welles and other Welles titles