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Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon Hardcover – March 17, 2003
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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.
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.
Lot of space is devoted to the description of dynamics that are shaping the entire river basin and the river and its tributaries themselves. Weather and rainfall pattern, bedrock and resulting water qualities are related and well described. Quite well ballanced ecological informations and human interaction with it are available for the reader throughout the book.
The whole concept is wery well set, so information allways come with the reasoning. The book is definitely opposite of the type of encyclopedia fact loaded dull text and maps. Reader will learn what makes each river different and why that happens, what are the factors behind each distinct fact stated here. There are some mistakes when some pictures are related to the map, so it will make the reader to think a bit more and take the quiz where they belong but those are minor bugs.
Overall I rate this book with five stars and wish to get similar one about different ecosystem or place on earth. It will be a hard task as the bar is set quite high...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book has lots of exciting pictures, maps and data but is a bit heavy reading. I’d like some more information on the people of this thrilling region but this does not detract... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mauro C
Quite extensive in scope and well appointed with maps, but many are too small for easy reference. Could use some more photos of ecosystems along the river.Published on June 9, 2014 by J Himmelstein
This book is a good resource for those interested in the Amazon Basin academically and generally. The large number of maps is very useful and informative and is accompanied by... Read morePublished on March 1, 2011 by KCG