TLCBookTours Review: Visual Atlas of the World

November 8, 2018 Uncategorized 10 ★★★

TLCBookTours Review: Visual Atlas of the WorldTitle: National Geographic Visual Atlas of the World, 2nd Edition: Fully Revised and Updated
Author: National Geographic Society
Source: from publisher for review

I’m not quite sure what to make of this book. It wasn’t what I expected. Perhaps people who have used atlases more in their life will be less surprised than I by the amount of interesting natural history information it began with. This part of the book was a lot of fun. There were also some fascinating maps at the beginning of the section for each continent. These showed interesting things like human energy consumption; past tectonic events; and population density. In these ways, it was more and better than I expected.

On to the not so good… A lot of the book was devoted to quite ordinary (if detailed) maps of the world. Over 100 pages were just an index of place names. There were only five full page pictures taking advantage of the fact that this book was 1 by 1.5 feet in area! These five pictures were fantastic. They were large enough the spine of the book didn’t even bother me. They made me feel the scale of the objects in the pictures and inspired the awe I hoped for from Spectacle. I was extremely disappointed there weren’t more. Throughout the rest of the book, only about a quarter of each two page spread was devoted to pictures. Three pictures were crammed into that space. Even in a book this big, that made for some pretty small pictures.

I don’t know how the creators of this book imagine people using it. For me, it’s a coffee table book. I’d have been interested in more artistic maps. That may be an unfair ask for an atlas. On the other hand, for something described as a visual atlas, I definitely think it was reasonable to expect more space be devoted to pictures of places. I’d also have liked more fun facts and maps showing fascinating statistics. Basically, I wanted something that would be fun to page through. Given the existence of the internet, it’s not something I anticipate using as a reference book, so the 100 pages of index were wasted space for me.

For other opinions on this book, check out the other stops on the tour.

10 Responses to “TLCBookTours Review: Visual Atlas of the World”

    • DoingDewey

      It’s true! Reading these, I’ve discovered that I really do think of National Geographic as the pinnacle of nature photography and I expect a lot from them πŸ™‚

  1. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku

    I don’t think there is anything wrong is expecting more visually stimulating maps from a book called a “visual atlas”. That said, I’d love to check this atlas out. I love the map aspect of atlases. The challenge is they are out of date so quickly! How are we expected to keep up? I’m surprised, honestly, they keep printing them. This one, like you pointed out, seems to be a quality coffee table book. I’m quite excited to check it out. Great review!

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks Jackie! It really was a good book, even if it didn’t exactly match my expectations, so I’m glad I haven’t put you off it πŸ™‚

  2. Kevin

    Thanks, and while I agree with you – probably more of a coffee table book – I did find value in the maps and suggested destinations. Thanks for the review!

  1. #TLCBookTours Review: All Over the Map | Doing Dewey

    […] of maps, each with a story to tell. Many of the maps reminded me of my favorite parts ofΒ The Visual Atlas. They displayed data in a way that made me understand the world differently. They examined […]

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