Deserts cover more than a seventh of the earth's surface. In this colorful atlas, Harris (Mapping the World; Heritage of Scotland), a writer on history and the arts, offers detailed profiles of the deserts from all continents (e.g., Asia's Gobi Desert, Africa's Sahara Desert, and the Central Australian deserts), describing their geology, biodiversity, geography, history, and even culture. Similar in topic and treatment to the United Nations Environment Programme's World Atlas of Desertification (1997), this atlas is a solid resource for anyone. While the UN atlas is organized by sections, each divided into small subsections (e.g., "Global," "Africa," and "Desertification Studies and Issues"), Harris's work is organized into eight chapters that deal with the formation and history of deserts, combined in four chapters containing maps on the deserts of specific continents (e.g., "How Deserts Form" includes "Atlas: African Deserts"). Both atlases feature a considerable amount of text, taking up something over half of the total volume; this atlas also has more color illustrations than does the UN atlas, though it is somewhat smaller in size. Both atlases are aimed toward a general public. While smaller libraries on tight budgets already owning the UN atlas should stick with what they have, those without either one should opt for Harris's version because it is the more current. Public libraries should own both.-Mary Lynette Larsgaard, Univ. of California Lib., Santa Barbara Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Gr 6 Up-A useful resource for students seeking either quick facts or thematic discussions, this survey of our planet's drier regions alternates sections of maps and condensed specifics with more widely ranging topical chapters. The maps have an uncluttered look, as changes in elevation are denoted in large increments by slightly different shades of light brown, roadways and political boundaries are kept to a minimum, and many major natural or human-made features are indicated by numbers keyed to side notes, rather than labels. Liberally endowed with large, bright color photos, the topical sections begin with an analysis of how deserts form; close with an eye-opening look at why desertification has become a major environmental issue; and in between consider kinds of deserts, characteristic flora and fauna, natural resources, and deserts in human history. Despite a Eurocentric outlook in the historical chapters and a general lack of depth in the accounts of human cultures associated with deserts, this volume is recommended for deeper collections, after Michael Allaby's Deserts (Facts On File, 2001).-John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
'An attractive book, written for the nonspecialist, that portrays nature with a wealth of simple maps, lovely photographs, and considerable basic introductory information... Both a browsing book and beginning reference book... Recommended for high-school, public, and undergraduate libraries.' Booklist/RBB
'Gorgeous color photographs, detailed maps, and clear and authoritative scientific explanations make this atlas both informative and captivating... A particular nice feature is that the geographical location and other details of each photograph are consistently provided.' SciTech Book News