This meticulously detailed, invitingly readable reference is nothing less than a vivid portrait of our world, packed with information about the Earth and its peoples -- past and present. Highlighted by 300 illustrations, photographs, maps, charts, and diagrams, and presented in an easy-to-use format, it combines an authoritative text by some of America's most renowned professional geographers with the stunning graphics that have been the National Geographic Society's hallmark for more than a century.
The book presents up-to-the-minute facts and definitive figures on each of the planet's 191 nations, but there's much more. A concise history of geography introduces the greatest cartographers and explorers and chronicles the mapmaker's craft as it developed from speculative art to exacting science. A second fascinating section surveys the physical world: the slow, inexorable processes that create continents and oceans, the ceaseless swirl of weather patterns, the evolution of climates and ecologies, and the impact of humankind. Yet another chapter traces Earth's peoples as small, scattered bands of prehistoric hominids transform into great civilizations.
This reference also delves into the roots of language, religion, culture, and technology to show how human ingenuity and the challenges of nature have interacted for millennia to produce the modem world. Finally, an alphabetical, country-by-country overview presents precise, specific data and statistics on everything from political structure to agricultural and industrial production to ethnic, religious, and linguistic makeup.
Boasting some 80 superb maps and over 200 photographs, diagrams, and charts, along with acomprehensive index, an inclusive glossary, and extensive lists of further resources, this is the ultimate geographic reference from the ultimate authority -- the National Geographic Society.