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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Among the biggest problems in making an accurate map of the globe is that a sphere can never be a plane. If you take a globe and try to flatten it, you are certain to stretch or tear parts of it. Cartographers get around this problem in many ways. Some flat maps of the Earth show all the land masses and countries in the right shape, but they distort the size. Some maps show all the sizes proportional, but distort the shapes. "Since the sizes and shapes of countries are inevitably distorted by map projections, why not make the most of it?" This is the question asked by Daniel Dorling, Mark Newman, and Anna Barford[...]and who have now brought out an impressive book of novel maps, _The Atlas of the Real World: Mapping the Way We Live_ (Thames and Hudson). You might have seen maps similar to these before, usually devoted to populations. The shapes of the continents and countries are distorted in a population map so that a country that has a hundred million people is twice as large as a country that has fifty million people. The map might look funny - it isn't one that a navigator could ever use, but it serves a different purpose from traditional maps. It's not too distorted; after all, lands that are big in acreage are usually big in population, but it is easy to see on such a map (and of course the authors offer one) that for instance India is greatly swollen, while Russia is reduced nearly to a thin horizontal line.

If you can distort the globe for the purpose of showing population concentrations, why not distort it to show, say, exports of toys, or imports of toys? Those maps are here, too. There are 366 colorful maps in this big, glossy, handsome, and thought-provoking book. Some of the distortions are mild, some are so extreme as to look more like Jupiter than Earth. The authors have designed the book beautifully to promote an understanding of its graphics. There is one map on every page, each map made to the same scale as all the others. Every country has the same color on each map, and to make it easier to find them, and to see geographical patterns, the countries are grouped into twelve regions, each with its own color (the nations within are shades of that color). Every map has a commentary and a table to indicate in numbers some of the data that are displayed graphically. Maps that are related are grouped together in chapters, and some maps come in pairs on opposite pages. The toy export map, for instance, faces the toy import map. The export map shows an enormous China and Taiwan, and a surprisingly large Hungary, Italy, and Mexico. The US is shrunk to nothing. It is, however, swollen on the import map, as is England and other parts of Europe. Africa, which shows up exaggeratedly large or exaggeratedly small in many of these pages, is a pinpoint for export and a small blob (mostly South Africa) for import. Looking at toys this way is not frivolous; the comments remind us that since toys are not necessities, the import map is a fair display of disposable income. Other maps show female domestic labor, deaths from rabies, demonstrations against the war in Iraq, newspaper circulation, use of radios, housing prices, HIV rates, refugee origins and destinations, nuclear weapons, fuel consumption, train use, child obesity, and plenty more. There are worrisome maps about what is happening to forests or birds or amphibians. There is some hopefulness in the way the world has improved access to electricity or to the internet.

There is a profound lesson in the data displayed this way. "In a sense," the authors say, "these maps are doing just what maps have always done: showing us where we are now, allowing us to navigate our way through the world." The maps may have funhouse-mirror images of countries, but they show real links and interrelatedness. Some of the themes in the maps may be disturbing, but the volume itself reflects our increased ability, largely through computers and the internet, to gain and use statistics from all over the Earth about all sorts of subjects. It is thus a beautiful and awe-inspiring document of new ways of understanding, and it is one of the most visually fascinating books ever.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The graphics are beautiful and very interesting but the stastical data is out of date, as the book is dated 2003. Used as history, it is unusual and fun.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
The three- hundred and sixty- six maps, or as the authors call them 'cartograms' in this book present a picture of how each of the areas and nations of the world stack up 'demographically' in regard to a wide variety of physical parameters. The major areas covered in the book are :Land Area and Population * Travel and Transport * Natural Resources and Energy * Globalization and Internationalism * Food and Consumables * Minerals, Natural Products and Petrochemicals * Manufactured Goods and Services * Wealth and Poverty * Employment and Productivity * Housing and Education * Communication and Media * Health and Illness * Death and Disaster * War and Crime * Pollution and Depletion * Extinction and Endangerment.
The great problem I have with the book is that it really does not make clear the position of most nations in relation to most of the parameters in question. There are accompanying charts but these cover the for instance ten most populous and ten least populous countries of the world. I believe it would have been far more instructive had there been charts accompanying each map in which each particular nation of the world was ranked.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2009
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
The idea is excellent: to show the magnitude of the numbers by graphically distorting the size of countries or regions. However, after several maps this becomes tiring and repetitious. Some people may find some statistics surprising, but most numbers and the proportions on the maps are predictable. At the same time the statistics are rather limited. Overall, this is one of these books that is good to see before buying. Maybe a quick trip to a bookstore (if they have it) would help to make that decision.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
These 391 maps are cartograms - intentional distortions proportional to what is being represented and in relation to every other area. This is valuable because it shows what geography is about, spatial and temporal. Politicians may argue and we may perceive ourselves as "bigger, longer, wealthier, better fed, better educated or lower, longer and poorer." The cartograms show things in proportion.

The US thinks of itself as highly educated, but map 247, "Growth in Secondary Education Spending" shows the US as almost nonexistent in proportion to other countries. The highest is western Europe, India, China, Japan and Brazil. For wealth China is about to come full circle by 2015 and exceed the US in wealth. At a glance you see the net importers and exporters of goods and services. The Middle East stands out for fuel exports while the US is the largest fuel importer. These are all cartograms, there is no need to look at a data table. Through color and distortion, you know, immediately, who is larger, smaller, richer, poorer, and more.

There is a significant quote on each page for each topic. 'At City Toys Ltd, . . . . Shenzhen, youngsters worked 16-hour days, seven days a week.' The cartogram shows China far and away the largest exporter of toys. Deaths from Cholera overwhelm Africa and India while the rest of the world shrinks away.

[...] is a site that compliments the text and makes the information all the more accessible and useful. It gives you a full, cross-referenced index and makes the information in all the maps easily accessible. The 400 page text (28 * 24 cm) is too big to carry around, the web site makes the information accessible almost anywhere.

l use the text and the web site in the Human Geography, Geomorphology and Meteorology courses I teach. Students love the colors, shapes and easy access to data. This sets a high standard for other map - data combinations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderful addition to any library. The graphs are clear and easy to read; giving you tons of information in a neat, concise space.
A sure hit for anyone that loves trivia and likes information on a variety of subjects.
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on October 14, 2012
Format: FlexiboundVerified Purchase
It takes a little while to get the 'brain click' so the maps make sense, and then it's just remarkable. I use it in classes I teach on critical thinking and creativity. I look at it every day.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
A very interesting approach to raw data, the maps may be hard to decipher at times but its a fantastic synthetic view of our world and how it works, I began to wish there were more maps on more topics. Origninal way to see how nations invest, how people live what impact policies may have. It highlights unobvious patterns and trends that can then be studied in greater depth. Strongly recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Wonderful timing, quick and professional. I highly recommend anyone this seller. No complaints. Very quick and diligent. I ordered these for my classes and it all worked out for the best. Thank YOu
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
It is the black book and it has a lot of detailed maps showing many demographics, I love the texture of the paper! You should purchase this for reference materials. It is excellent.
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