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Geo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico Mass Market Paperback – January 15, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


Did you ever wonder why rain usually falls in the late afternoon or night during the summer in western Mexico? Can you figure out why the death rate for Mexicans is four times higher than for US-born workers in the southeastern USA? If you find these questions intriguing, you're going to want to own a copy of Geo-Mexico by Richard Rhoda and Tony Burton. This is what the authors call a "real"geography book and believe me, it is a far cry from the dull texts foisted on students years ago. Rhoda and Burton tell us that geography as a subject is, like Mexico itself, often under-appreciated, equated with memorizing the names of countries, capitals, mountain ranges and rivers. However, these authors claim that "real" geography is much more interesting and even exciting because it focuses on "the interaction between individuals, societies and the physical environment in both time and space". This book, in fact, includes subjects like female quality of life in Mexico, access to cell phones, urban sprawl, the survival of the Tarahumara Indians and even gives us the touring route of the Hermanos Vázquez Circus. In my opinion, if this is a geography book, it is geography unchained. I have to admit that as a schoolboy, I hated Geography the Subject. Eventually, however, I became interested in amateur radio and as I began to chat, by voice or by Morse Code, with fellow "hams" all over the world, I started plastering the walls of my radio shack with maps. Amateur radio humanized geography for me and that is precisely what this book does for the geography of Mexico. If you are one of those people who always want to know why things are what they are, you will especially appreciate the clear and understandable explanations found in every chapter of this book. Take the phenomenon of late afternoon rain in the summer. Geo-Mexico explains that there are three basic types of rainfall in this country. One of these is called convectional rain and it is associated with hot afternoons: "During the morning, warm air near the surface collects great quantities of moisture. As temperatures increase towards mid-day, pockets of moist warm air are sent upwards, quickly leading to condensation and clouds. As the clouds continue to rise, they cool to the point where precipitation becomes inevitable. Afternoon and evening rain showers result, often heavy and accompanied by thunder and lightning. Convectional rain occurs throughout Mexico but is a summer phenomenon since this in the time of year when solar radiation and ground heating is at a maximum." The book also presents the kind of surprising facts about Mexico that readers have come to expect from the writings of Tony Burton. Did you know that Mexico has more species of pine trees than any other country? That Mexico's diverse economy produces about $1.6 trillion in goods and services every year, more than Canada or South Korea? That Mexico's population of 110 million makes it the eleventh largest nation on earth? That migrant workers in the USA sent $25 billion (yes, billion!) back to their families in Mexico in 2008? Little-known statistics like these jump off most pages of Geo-Mexico, making it one of those reference books you'll be consulting again and again. Geo-Mexico will surely become the geography book of choice for ethnically-oriented courses in the USA and Canada. Should a Spanish version ever appear, I'm sure it would be immensely popular in schools and universities south of the border. If only we'd had textbooks like this one when I was a youngster. Congratulations to Richard Rhoda and Tony Burton for unchaining Mexican geography! --John Pint for MexConnect website

Collaborating long-distance via Internet over the past six years, Tony Burton and Richard Rhoda have put together the most comprehensive resource of Mexico geography ever published. "Geo-Mexico, the Geography and Dynamics of Modern Mexico" is now on the market in sync with a milestone year in the country's history. Mexico is home to planet earth's largest natural crystals, its deepest water-filed sink hole, and second richest man, telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim. The country ranks first in the world for diversity of reptile species and the incidence of diabetes, while placing second only to the United States in the consumption of soft drinks. Those are just a few of the juicy factual tidbits curious readers will pick up on the pages of the timely and engaging tome compiled by Ajijic-based geographer Richard Rhoda and colleague Tony Burton, a former lakeside resident who now makes his home in Ladysmith, British Columbia. The book goes far beyond describing the physical characteristics of the country, exploring sociological, economic, political and cultural landscapes as well to comprise the most comprehensive geographical study of the republic ever published in English. Laymen and scholars alike will appreciate the straightforward, seamless, reader-friendly writing style and the enhancement of information with more than 150 maps, graphs, diagrams and highlighted textboxes. Presented in 31 easily digestible chapters, the text delves into tha land s past, present and future with keen analysis that provides a clear understanding of Mexico in a global context. The concept for the book originated from a lecture series on Mexican geography Rhoda put together for the Lake Chapala Society in 2004. From his original idea of putting his lecture notes into a printed form, the project evolved into a six year research, writing and publishing endeavor. Burton s involvement came about as Rhoda was looking into avenues for getting his work into print. He pulled a copy of Burton's "Western Mexico: A Traveller's Treasury" off his bookshelf and learned that the self-published author was a fellow geographer. He contacted Burton to seek advice on how to get the work published, but finding common ground, soon saw the project turn into a collaborative effort. It turns out that Burton had a similar idea floating in the back of his head that came from his struggles to find a single, solid resource in the early 1980 s when he was teaching a college level course on subject in Mexico City. Frustrated by the need to assemble teaching materials from diverse sources, he yearned to fill the gap, but saw it as a gargantuan task he could only conceive of undertaking in retirement. After an initial exchange of ideas, the two men promptly developed an easy-going working relationship, complementing one another perfectly in their divergent areas of expertise. Rhoda wrote a first draft and then Burton kicked in on editing, fleshing out the content, and putting together the graphics. The end product is a stunning accomplishment, intentionally timed to coincide with Mexico s Independence bicentenary and Revolution centenary milestone. It is a must-have item for any Mexicophile's bookcase --Dale Pafrey for The Guadalajara Reporter

About the Author

Richard Rhoda is a PhD Geographer who has directed major international aid and environmental programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Author of a book on development planning, he has taught university geography courses, published numerous articles in professional journals and delivered scores of lectures on such issues as urban systems, environment, demography and economic development. Since 1999 he has resided in Ajijic, Mexico.

Tony Burton is an educator and independent researcher who has authored two previous books about Mexico and published widely on Mexico s economy, geography, tourism and environmental issues. A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, he edited the Lloyd Mexican Economic Report for twelve years and for six years was Chief Examiner in Geography for the International Baccalaureate Organization.


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Sombrero Books; First edition (January 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0973519134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0973519136
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is not your typical Geography book. While it includes all the elements of Mexico's geography, the title: The Geography and Dynamics of Modern Mexico -
peaked my non-academic curiosity. Gender inequalities, slavery, HIV-AIDS, happiness, freedom, crime, quality of life, the Green Revolution, fertility rates, life expectancy - are just a few issues of interest presented, compared, and clearly illustrated with charts and graphs. Every time I pick it up I find something else intriguing to investigate.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I keep coming back to this book since I first turned to it to understand Mexico's earthquake patterns earlier this year.

I keep learning more, and being startled by the correlations between Mexico's geography and its politics, religion, economics, commerce and even tourism patterns.

It's often said that biology is destiny, but possibly to an even greater extent, a country's geography shapes its destiny. Mexico is one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world, with vast deserts, rain forests, jungles, high plateaus, volcanic belts, and coastlines.

It's the 14th largest country in the world and ranks 11th in population and economy ($1.58 trillion USD a year). Three fourths of the country is higher than a thousand meters altitude (3,300 feet).

Some 85% of the population lives in these higher regions (half the population lives in a band across the middle of Mexico from Veracruz to Guadalajara), largely in a giant central plateau that could be called high desert.

Yet the country has 30 inches of rainfall a year overall, more than the averages for Canada and the US. Only 3% of that rainfall seeps down to replenish its aquifers. Some 44% of the country is severely water stressed.

Mexicans use 1,441 cubic meters of water a year for all purposes, while the US uses 2,483 cubic meters a person. Water shortages and patterns are one huge factor that has shaped Mexico, even to its reliance on corn as its main food product throughout history since corn requires less water than many other food sources.
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By Jim Brown on February 20, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Whether you are an educator, a researcher, a geographer or simply a person interested in Mexico's geography and its' social fabric, this is the book for you. I was a bit apprehensive about reading this book as I often find books about "geography" to be overly technical and hence complicated to read. In contrast, this book is exceptionally well written, easy to understand and easy to read. Having said that, it still provides a very comprehensive and current picture of Mexican geography. Since reading "Geo-Mexico", I now understand the physical geography of Mexico much better, but perhaps more importantly, I have a better understanding and appreciation of the Mexican people and their economic and cultural reality. This book is well worth owning, reading, and sharing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A fascinating book we pre-ordered from Amazon so as to have time to read it from cover-to-cover in anticipation of our move to San Miguel de Allende. It was important to us to gain an understanding of the country as a whole, rather than just focus on the location in which we would be living.

Having lived in southern California for many years, our families' and friends' concerns about earthquakes were exacerbated by the recent 7.2 earthquake near Mexicali. However, Chapter Two - which delves right into earthquakes and volcanoes - answered them, explaining that the majority of Mexico's quakes occur on or near the Pacific Coast where the North American Plate rubs against the Rivera, Orozco, and Cocos Plates, far away from the central highlands in which San Miguel is located.

I had studiously avoided geography classes over the years (believing them to consist of memorizing the names of rivers and mountains - how boring!) but Richard and Tony have created a book that reads easily even for non-geographical types like myself and covers many topics that one might think fall outside the strictly geological. The importance of geography in determining Mexico's past, present, and future in a world context is clearly and succinctly made a part of the development of many areas of Mexican life. As another reader has noted, "His writing has always been filled with fun facts that make your understanding of Mexico go `click' as it starts to all fit together."
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