The Trivia Lover's Guide to the World: Geography for the Lost and Found

The Trivia Lover's Guide to the World: Geography for the Lost and Found

3.6 176
by Gary Fuller
     
 

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Gary Fuller’s entertaining and engaging guide enhances geographic know-how with good, old-fashioned fun, using trivia to open up new worlds of knowledge for all readers. Often dismissed as unimportant, trivia here highlights issues that are far from trivial, pondering, for example, what peaceful country requires citizens to keep guns in their homes? what

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Overview

Gary Fuller’s entertaining and engaging guide enhances geographic know-how with good, old-fashioned fun, using trivia to open up new worlds of knowledge for all readers. Often dismissed as unimportant, trivia here highlights issues that are far from trivial, pondering, for example, what peaceful country requires citizens to keep guns in their homes? what continent contains at least 75 percent of the world’s fresh water? and why aren't New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia the capitals of their respective states? An inveterate traveler and geographer extraordinaire, Fuller provides extensive background, clear illustrations, and thorough explanations for each intriguing question, carefully grounding the text in practical geographic concepts. Both enjoyable and enlightening, this book challenges today’s global generation to truly get to know their world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fuller hits the road around the world with this accessible and fun guide to global geography. The author couches "trivia" in an engaging narrative, but his knowledge is anything but trivial in an increasingly globalized world, where an understanding of the lay of the land on the other side of the planet may prove as important as knowing one's neighborhood. He introduces chapters on state capitals, continent-straddling countries, and "Really Big Cities," and more with questions that are sure to coerce the curious to delve into Fuller's informative olio-"What is the oldest language in Europe?" (Answer: Basque.) "Where was basketball invented?" (Answer: Springfield, Mass.) Interspersed throughout are fun anecdotes culled from Fuller's 35 years as a professor at the University of Hawai'i-one student "thought it was unfair to call some lakes 'great' and thus, as she put it, 'to dis other lakes.'" Featuring more than 50 maps and countless bits of miscellany, Fuller's "Guide to the World" will provide geography buffs with plenty of interesting facts. Folks will be happy to read thru or peruse at random. Maps.
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ForeWord Reviews
Facts...make The Trivia Lover’s Guide to the World an intriguing read, but it is also the author’s voice, informative yet entertaining, that will appeal to fact collectors and geography lovers....Packed with simple and understandable maps and diagrams to complement the text, the book encourages a love of learning and a development of logical thinking.
South Florida Sun Sentinel
Anyone who loves geography and trivia will find this book hard to put down.
Booklist
It is, unfortunately, an oft repeated (and probably true) maxim that most Americans are woefully ignorant about the geography of both their own country and the wider world. Fuller taught geography at the University of Hawaii for 35 years and is also a former winning contestant on the game show Jeopardy. Using a game-show format and trivia questions, Fuller goes beyond short answers to expound on a wide variety of geographic topics that provide enjoyment and enhanced knowledge to general readers hoping to fill in the gaps in their understanding of the world. The chapters are arranged around particular themes, which include state capitals, the why and where of various cities, and the links between religion and geography. Readers can learn why many state capitals were built away from large cities, or which nations, surprisingly, can expect population decline. Although the uninformed will benefit most, even those who consider themselves knowledgeable can enjoy the tidbits in this breezy, informative work.
David Zurick
The Trivia Lover's Guide to the World is far from being trivial. Gary Fuller has written an entertaining and deeply informative book that is a delight to read and an essential antidote to the geographical lacuna that exists in contemporary America (and elsewhere). If you thought geography was about memorizing places on a map, think again, and pick up this book.
David McQuillan
Anyone who has a love for trivia or has been fortunate enough to enjoy Gary Fuller’s university or ocean cruise lectures must have a copy of this book. He draws on his experience in studying populations to give a unique insight to geographic facts and history. An award-winning trivia player himself, he brings his professional and personal studies together to uncover the fascinating background stories behind trivia answers. A great read that should be shared with friends and family.
CHOICE
In this enjoyable book Fuller (formerly, Univ. of Hawai'i) explores and answers 150 geographical trivia questions. However, instead of listing the questions and providing the corresponding answers, which would make for a very boring read, he spins his responses into geographical explorations of various topics: climate and weather, maps, islands, rivers, parks, sports, and more. In 46 chapters addressing the questions and associated topics, Fuller does a wonderful job of providing historical context for his answers, in a way that is both entertaining and engaging. So why would Fuller write such a book? For one thing, he was a winning contestant on the television program Jeopardy! and chaired a championship College Bowl team. Trivia is clearly in his blood. In addition, he has a PhD in geography and has taught at universities for 35 years. Being named "Teacher of the Year" by the National Association for Geographic Education probably explains how he does such a great job of telling stories, while increasing one's knowledge of geography as a whole. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers.
Saddlebrook Progress
Tucson resident Gary Fuller, Professor Emeritus of geography and Population studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, has won the ForeWord Review’s 2012 Book of the Year Silver Award at the American Library Association Conference in Chicago June 27- July 2, 2013. His book, The Trivia Lover’s Guide to the World, Geography for the Lost and Found was published by Rowman Littlefield.
Foreword Reviews
Facts...make The Trivia Lover’s Guide to the World an intriguing read, but it is also the author’s voice, informative yet entertaining, that will appeal to fact collectors and geography lovers....Packed with simple and understandable maps and diagrams to complement the text, the book encourages a love of learning and a development of logical thinking.
Choice
In this enjoyable book Fuller (formerly, Univ. of Hawai'i) explores and answers 150 geographical trivia questions. However, instead of listing the questions and providing the corresponding answers, which would make for a very boring read, he spins his responses into geographical explorations of various topics: climate and weather, maps, islands, rivers, parks, sports, and more. In 46 chapters addressing the questions and associated topics, Fuller does a wonderful job of providing historical context for his answers, in a way that is both entertaining and engaging. So why would Fuller write such a book? For one thing, he was a winning contestant on the television program Jeopardy! and chaired a championship College Bowl team. Trivia is clearly in his blood. In addition, he has a PhD in geography and has taught at universities for 35 years. Being named "Teacher of the Year" by the National Association for Geographic Education probably explains how he does such a great job of telling stories, while increasing one's knowledge of geography as a whole. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442214033
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
08/16/2012
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
726,174
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

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Read an Excerpt

THE TRIVIA LOVER'S GUIDE TO THE WORLD


By GARY FULLER

ROWMAN & LITTLEFIELD PUBLISHERS, INC.

Copyright © 2012 Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4422-1403-3


Chapter One

THE EFFECTS OF GEOGRAPHIC IGNORANCE ON THE MODERN WORLD

Question 1: Where Is New Zealand?

Pat Sajak of television's Wheel of Fortune seems about as unflappable as a game show host can get. With thousands of shows under his belt, what could possibly happen that was new? The category on the show one evening was "Where are you?" The puzzle consisted of three words that described a place, and there was a $1,000 bonus for naming the place once the puzzle was solved. A contestant solved the puzzle with minimal difficulty. The three words were: pineapple, aloha, lei. After some hesitation, the contestant offered "Idaho" as the answer. There was applause in the audience from those who apparently thought pineapples were a principal crop just outside Boise, but Pat Sajak was momentarily speechless! By the way, if you happen to be lost geographically, the correct answer was "Hawai'i."

Every television quiz show in the United States reveals the same thing: geographic ignorance is widespread. On Jeopardy! and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, viewers can watch brilliant people answer obscure questions but then wash out when they confuse Switzerland and Sweden or think the Nile River is in Asia. This situation wouldn't be so bad except geography is pretty important stuff. It helps us understand how the world is organized—how history, politics, economics, climate, and culture coalesce in specific places. Just as music has a very basic vocabulary of notes, so geography's vocabulary is made up of places. Without those places, it's hard to understand religion and language and much of anything else that makes our world what it is. Most of the literature we enjoy—from the classics to modern pulp fiction—is enriched by a basic understanding of the places where the stories are set.

If geographic ignorance were limited to game shows, there would be no need for this book. Unfortunately, it's sometimes where you'd least expect it. A few years ago I was privileged to attend a meeting of State Department personnel. People chosen for State Department positions are highly educated, often from the best colleges and universities, but sometimes lack basic geographic information and understanding. During a lull in the proceedings, an informal discussion began about unusual languages. A number of interesting languages were mentioned, as one would expect from the collective knowledge at the table. Eventually they turned to me, as an outsider and the only geographer. I nominated Bislama, the pidgin language of Vanuatu. I told them the language developed as a result of the sea slug trade between the French and the Chinese and that the name of the language actually came from the French beche de mer, the sea slug itself. Hours later, after the meeting concluded, several participants congratulated me on my imaginative language story. Apparently nobody believed me; they assumed even the country Vanuatu had been made up. I couldn't convince them otherwise.

So what? Who cares about Vanuatu? Despite its collective talent, the US government has an alarming history of knowing next to nothing about areas it considers unimportant and then, oops, they become really important. Places such as Vietnam, Somalia, Rwanda, and Afghanistan seem like good examples, but in the past places such as Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Tarawa, and, yes, the New Hebrides, or Vanuatu, also come to mind. Ever since the world first shrunk dramatically in 1869 with the opening of the Suez Canal, we've seen places grow ever closer and ever more important to each other ... and to us. So, yes, Vanuatu is important both to us and to the people that make it their home, even if the folks who work at FOGGY BOTTOM are unaware of it.

The most alarming place for geographic ignorance, however, is the college classroom. Geography is rarely taught in our primary and secondary schools. Sure, there are localized exceptions, the occasional school or teacher trying to offer a little geography. Without an organized curriculum and an understanding of major concepts, however, teachers usually offer little more than an exercise in pointless memorization. The average freshman college student is among the most geographically lost of all. When I was teaching introductory geography at Penn State, Ohio State, and the University of Hawai'i, I would occasionally ask students to locate the country of New Zealand on an outline map of the world, one that showed national boundaries but not the names of countries or other places. There wasn't a corner of the world that failed to be labeled "New Zealand." Answer 1: Fewer than 15 percent of the students could find it (in the southwestern Pacific Ocean east of Australia), and a small number even located it in the space reserved for the United States. It's fortunate that we're reasonably good friends with New Zealand, because I doubt we could find it if we decided to take military action against it.

Knowing the location of New Zealand is simply a vocabulary matter, like knowing what bailiwick means or where middle C is on the piano keyboard. It's not high-order knowledge, but you have to start somewhere!

I think colleges and universities could help the situation a bit by not describing their locations to the students they accept. Imagine how panicked students would be if they were ready to leave for college and didn't know where to go. Where is Reed or Trinity, Arizona or TCU? Is there a city called William and Mary or Howard? Worst of all, is PENN STATE in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, or maybe Harrisburg? What fun to have college admissions based on geographical Darwinism!

(Continues...)



Excerpted from THE TRIVIA LOVER'S GUIDE TO THE WORLD by GARY FULLER Copyright © 2012 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of ROWMAN & LITTLEFIELD PUBLISHERS, INC.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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