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Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon Hardcover – March 17, 2003


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Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon + Tree of Rivers: The Story of the Amazon + Tropical Nature: Life and Death in the Rain Forests of Central and South America
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian Books (March 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588341356
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588341358
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #260,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Goulding is a rainforest ecologist with the Amazon Conservation Alliance and author of several books, including Floods of Fortune. Ronaldo Barthem is a biologist with the Goeldi Museum in Belém, Brazil. Efrem Ferreira is a fisheries ecologist with the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas de Amazônia in Manaus, Brazil.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Alan Dean Foster on December 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While thorough in some areas, such as its discussion of sedimentation and flow volume river by river, this atlas of the Amazon is sorely lacking in others. Some examples: while major tributaries are named, many large ones that are minor only by Amazonian standards are never named. Despite the fact that many maps cover significant mountainous areas, including the Andes, none of the maps are colored to show altitude, which would greatly help the reader in visualizing the direction and rate of riverine flow.
Too few cities are shown on the maps, and then only on some. Cities that are mentioned as being in a map area are sometimes not shown on the relevant map at all. Other items significant to an atlas are completely omitted. Areas used for cattle ranching, rice growing, etc., are mentioned, but there are no maps that delineate them. Such areas are only shown as "deforested". Important roads, such as Pucallpa-Lima, are not labeled. Important proposed roads are referred to, but their routes are not shown. With the exception of Macchu Picchu, important archeological sites are mentioned but not shown. Contentious oil discoveries are discussed, but their locations are not shown on any maps, nor are the relevant pipelines. On page 213, protected-reserved areas are shown via three separate maps, but the areas are not combined, which would give a clearer picture of how much of the region being discussed (Rio Negro) is actually under some form of protection.
Writing tends to the repetitious. Despite the biological diversity of the Amazon basin, virtually no photos of indigenous wildlife are included. Some photos look like low-rez digital shots that have been enlarged too much. A couple are notably blurry.
A useful reference book to be sure, but far from definitive.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Gunnar Sedleniek on November 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An atlas is generally defined as a collection of maps and charts. Calling the Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon an "atlas" is a bit of a stretch. It is more a compilation of statistics about the region; useful and interesting to be sure, but not an "atlas" in the conventional sense. I was looking for detailed maps and charts of the region. You will not find them in this "atlas."
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Denis Benchimol Minev on January 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Atlas of the Amazon is the best comprehensive view of the many different natural and social aspects that emcompass the Amazon river basin. It does a thorough job of describing the natural environment and the differences between sub-regions.
Unfortunately, the entire Amazon is altogether too large and too diverse for a single volume such as this one, but I believe that it does reasonably well at condensing some of the main aspects and choosing specific themes to focus on. For example, the book focuses on the geology of the reason, explaining the differences in river color by showing the different origins of the rivers (there are yellow, black, green, and transparent waters). Additionally, the book singled out the lifecyle of local catfish, that crisscross the region by their feeding and breeding habits.
One of the outstanding qualities of this book is the images, which try to do justice to the beauty of the region. Through the pictures, one can tell the deep differences between the sub-regions; some are mountainous, some are planes, some are swamps, in some places the forest is denser, etc.
If you are planning a visit to the Amazon, or have a strong interest in the Amazonian ecosystem, this may be the best book available today. I strongly recommend it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By William Gary Smith on January 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is simply the best atlas I have ever reviewed on the subject of riverine hydrology, and presents the huge scope of the Amazon Basin (not just the river itself but all of the contributory watersheds)in a wonderful mix of maps, photographs and accompanying text. As an environmental engineer and scientist who routinely works with production of this type of document, I am very impressed with the level of detail, and the very reasonable cost of an atlas of such quality. If you are interested in the hydrology and ecosystems of the Amazon, this atlas is for you....
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