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Smithsonian Earth Hardcover – October 6, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Visually spectacular, this standout guide to our planet offers a thorough look at the Earth's physical dynamics. Divided into five major sections-Planet Earth, Land, Ocean, Atmosphere and Tectonic Earth-the book explores the planet's environment, weather systems and general physical makeup. The large-format volume begins with the Earth's history and anatomy, featuring pages of stunning photos (one image shows a river of red-hot lava running into the sea), comprehensive layouts and excellent diagrams (e.g., a cut-out of the Earth's structure, from inner core to the chemical composition of its atmosphere). A chapter on rocks explains the many various types of metamorphic and sedentary stones, for instance, while a chapter on rivers and lakes showcases beautiful photos of the endless Amazon, with smaller sidebar photos of the animals that live in the tropics and color-coded maps of the region. Pretty enough to serve as a coffee table book, this volume also contains a tremendous amount of absorbing information.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

How to catalog the earth? Luhr and fellow staff members at the Smithsonian Institution have put together an encyclopedic, picture-rich, beautifully designed compendium that draws on up-to-date research in numerous fields to tell the incredible story of our planet's birth, place in the cosmos, and evolution, noting all the primary characteristics that make this flourishing blue green planet unique within the solar system. The writing is clear, animated, and engrossing. The page layouts are works of graphic art: loaded with complex visual and textual information, they are nonetheless airy, balanced, and inviting. A grand time line beginning with the big bang and moving through the full spectrum of geological eras serves as an overture to the detailed story of the earth's dramatic coalescence into the world we know. Detailed looks at rocks and minerals segue into multifaceted coverage of the atmosphere, tectonic plates, glaciers, earthquakes, volcanoes, deserts, grasslands, rivers, forests, mountains, oceans and seas, as well as the topography of civilization. This superb and stunning volume should be kept handy along with atlases and dictionaries. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 520 pages
  • Publisher: DK Publishing; 1st edition (October 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789496437
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789496430
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.6 x 11.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Matt Ebiner on November 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a college geography professor I decided to require Earth as the textbook for my physical geography classes. Tired of the exorbitantly priced textbooks which empty students' wallets, I thought it would be worthwhile to order a cheaper, more accessible book which the students might want to read even after the course ended. Now as the semester is finishing I am mostly happy with my choice. Earth cuts down on the jargon which is part of most college geography classes, so I had to alter my lecture and change some of my exam questions. Also, the sequencing of topics is different than most physical geography texts and I found it necessary to tell students that "today's material is found on pages 110-111,116-119, and 252-253," not quite as simple as telling the students to read chapter 11. Nevertheless, my classes have loved using the text, which caters to the shortened attention spans of most students.

I think any reader would enjoy picking up this book, thumbing to any page, and reading it for even a mere 5 minutes. The photos are beautiful and the captions alone are informative. Highly recommended!
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71 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Frank on November 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It seems that DK and the Smithsonian have teamed up to produce a sure winner with their new book "Smithsonian Earth". It is profusely graphic with superb full color photographs and illustrations throughout.
This book is divided into five major subjects: (1) Planet Earth (2) Land (3) Ocean (4) Atmosphere and (5) Tectonic Earth. It is extremely well organized with a comprehensive index and glossary. One will find "thematic panels" scattered throughout the text, which might in other works be referred to as "sidebars". They serve three functions: They are used to highlight science (how scientists have learned about different aspects of the workings of our planet), biography (notable earth scientists, explorers and others are profiled) and environment (the ways humans are changing the Earth). These panels are color-coded. For instance, all biography entries have a light gray background.
Having indexed some books myself in the past, this comprehensive feature was much appreciated. It was impressive in that even the "thematic panels" are indexed as well as the regular text. The index in boldface type refers to the most prominent page. For instance, copper's indexed entry referred to the "thematic panel" that noted that copper is extremely malleable and can be formed into intricate patterns that are invaluable for covering domes, spires and cupolas. Furthermore, it notes that the copper roofs last for centuries - all this in a small thematic panel!
The first part of the book deals with the Earth's past with a colored timeline extending over several pages dating from the Big Bang. The color reflects the temperature and the environment.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Ray S on April 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book covers an enormous amount of information. Features such as mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans, plains, deserts, forests, glaciers -- you name it -- are described in general and then short sections are devoted to specific places (the more prominent instances of those features, such as Mt Kilimanjaro for mountains, the Yangtze for rivers, etc., but many relatively lesser known places as well). But this book goes way beyond just land/water features. It also has a timeline of Earth's geological and biological history, covers rocks and minerals, soils, ecosystems, tectonics, natural forces, climate, conservation, and much more. The pictures are spectacular, and this book is full of them. Anyone with a general interest in geography, geology, or nature will certainly enjoy this book immensely.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Joseph S. Maresca HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This volume has spectacular full-color pictures of the earth.

For instance, diamonds, gold, silver, copper and other minerals

are depicted as they are found in the environment. Spectacular

sand dunnes, craters, fault lines and deserts are shown.

There are beautiful shots of the famous "Ural Mountains" ,

Lake Geneva and the Kalahari Desert.

The volume is perfect for any student project. It is a good

value for the price charged. The pictures alone are worth more

than the price of the volume.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Valerie J. on March 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I just received this heavyweight book and was overwhelmed by the desire to read every page at one time: it was like being a child in a candy store. Which should I choose? The book is magnificently presented with wonderful photographs throughout - hundreds, perhaps thousands. The page edges are decorated beautifully with a different design per section,and the text is woven in among the graphics so that you aren't overfaced with masses of text at one time. The text is clear and flowing and on good quality paper. I cannot imagine that there is anything in this masterpiece that I might want to find and cannot. Clearly it cannot delve over deeply into every topic on a subject as grand as "Earth", but it has a jolly good try. The original price was reasonable - this lower price is an absolute bargain. An excellent book for adults and older children alike.
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