HARM DE BLIJ'S GEOGRAPHY BOOK by Harm de Blij

HARM DE BLIJ'S GEOGRAPHY BOOK

A Leading Geographer's Fresh Look at Our Changing World
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A chatty, broad-ranging introduction to a discipline popularly viewed as all ports and pig iron, from the geography editor of Good Morning America. Abandoned in the 1960s by most American grade schools, geography was clearly due for a relaunch when tests revealed that most US schoolchildren couldn't find their home state on a map. De Blij (Geography/School of Foreign Service, Georgetown Univ.) is geography's roving ambassador. Here he offers a homey look at the discipline, an everyman's geography full of anecdotes about the interplay of human communities and the natural world: why people keep to the left on sidewalks in Buenos Aires, to the right in London; how a map helped defeat the cholera epidemic. De Blij handles with aplomb such big issues as plate tectonics, the greenhouse effect, exclusive economic zones, acid rain, and stateless peoples, but he also works in the meat-and-potatoes of weather patterns, the Coriolis force, boundary matters, the nature of place. Important figures in geographic history--Walter Christaller (urban systems), Wladimir Koppen (weather mapping), Alfred Wegener (continental drift), and others--are given their moments to shine. De Blij speaks knowingly, even intimately, of colonial independence struggles, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the peregrinations of the Chinese state, and the prospects for a united Europe. He seems to have been everywhere at the right time, drinking it all in, living the geography of these lands. Most impressively, he seamlessly weds the far-flung aspects of this encyclopedic field, whose political, physical, historical, urban, environmental, cultural, and population angles impinge on and reposition one another. This captivating effort just might get geography out of the doghouse and back into the classroom. (maps and illustrations, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-471-11687-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Wiley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995