North Africa and the Middle East

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Elisabeth Greenberg
This fascinating geographical perspective on a world region that is gaining importance in the modern world doesn't talk down to students. Instead, it challenges them to think about the big issues geographers address: how the physical land mass affects human culture; how the climate affects plants and animals and, down the road, the regional economy; how physical space can limit or expand human potential. The authors clearly define their approach and their terms in each chapter. For example, when discussing "Climate and Ecosystems," clear definitions of weather and climate precede an exposition of how climate forms and modifies landscape. Change agents such as wind, temperature, and precipitation are clearly analyzed and their effects over time explained. Similarly, "ecosystem" is first defined, and then specifically described within the confines of the geographical region and arid climate. Students fascinated with facts will discover plenty of information with which to astonish their classmates and families, while students who engage enthusiastically with patterns of change and development will discover the elegance of geographical explanation and learn how to explain complex concepts and issues lucidly. While this book is text-heavy, carefully chosen images pack a lot of power. For example, the "world at night" dramatically shows that arid areas lack population (and hence "light at night"). This exceptional book doesn't simplify the issues facing North Africa and the Middle East. Rather than confining their book to past history, the Gritzners instead list factors that are likely to determine the region's future. The factors are right on target; they neglect only water rights, acrucial issue in the Middle East.
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up
This detailed volume discusses how geography has influenced the history and culture of this part of the world. It covers the entire region, rather than individual countries, and includes chapters on the environment as a whole, climate and ecosystems, and population and settlement. Individual sections within chapters focus on how factors such as the presence of natural resources have affected where and how people live. The chapter entitled "The Cradle of Civilization" discusses the many ancient peoples who lived here, including the Sumerians, Hittites, Hyksos, Assyrians, and ancient Egyptians, and how the environment shaped their cultures. The authors are particularly diligent about encouraging critical thinking on subjects such as census data, demographics, and population density, and dispelling popular stereotypes. The final chapter, "A Troubled Region Looks Ahead," is a fairly evenhanded summary of the major issues. The book includes numerous high-quality maps, color photographs, and satellite images. Unfortunately, the bibliography lists books that are at least 30 years old. Overall, though, this is a solid choice.
—Kathleen E. GruverCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791081457
  • Publisher: Facts on File, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Series: Modern World Cultures Series
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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