The goal of this work is to provide an up-to-date reference work in geography for users, grade seven and up, in the school or public library. Each of the first 23 volumes focuses on a specific geographic area in the world, offering profiles for each country, followed by thematic profiles for the region as a whole and a brief glossary, index, and bibliography. The country profiles focus on environment, society, economy, and history; the regional profiles include physical geography, habitats, animal and plant life, agriculture, industry, cultures, cities, government, and environmental issues. This same format is followed throughout the set so that comparisons may be easily made. Anywhere from about one-fourth to three-fourths of the pages are composed of illustrations--color maps, photographs, and artwork, plus tables. The amount of text varies considerably from country to country; the countries in Europe may have several pages, while a small Third World country may have three paragraphs. The set closes with a one-volume index, which includes one general index, 13 thematic indexes, and a glossary. The editors have aimed this work toward a U.S. and British audience, with 33 percent of the material on Europe and 12.5 percent on North America. The text is clear and readable. Text writers are from the academic community; either in spite of or because of this, reading it is like eating potato chips--it's hard to stop. Overall, there is an emphasis on providing a historical background and on the environmental problems of the areas being discussed. While this work is most appropriate for secondary-school students and public library patrons, its brief survey articles will be helpful for beginning college students.-- Mary L. Larsgaard, Univ. of California-Santa Barbara Map & Imagery Lab Lib.
Library Journal - Library Journal
An unusually attractive and accessible reference, suitable for young readers but more than sufficiently interesting to hold the attention of adults as well. Each of the first 23 volumes of the set focuses on a specific geographic area. Two complete volumes are devoted to the US. The other volumes are about regions such as the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, or countries such as France and China. Each volume is introduced by a profile of the country or region being considered, followed by wide-ranging and comprehensive coverage of physical geography, habitats and their conservation, animal life, plant life, agriculture, industry, economics, peoples and culture, cities, government, and environmental issues. The text is accompanied by color photographs, maps, and charts (some 3,400 illustrations in all). Volume 24 contains the cumulative index, an extensive glossary, a comprehensive list of further readings, and 10 thematic indexes. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)