MacMillan Color Atlas of the States

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9780028648897: MacMillan Color Atlas of the States

Documents important aspects of every state in the Union using four-color maps, charts, and other illustrations. The book devotes seven pages to each state, detailing basic facts, cultural features, climate and environment, history, population and government, ethnicity and education, and economy and resources. Well designed and easy to interpret. A useful feature is the comparisons of the state to its region and to other states. . . for school and public libraries. Booklist/Reference Books Bulletin Using copious color it provides all the information noted and delves a bitdeeper.Rettig on Reference

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Review:

Nothing takes the place of a fine atlas. Whether you're on the road, planning to be so, or just dreaming about it, an atlas is ideal for providing a lot of information without requiring a cartful of books. In just a few pages per state you get the goods on location, size, and boundaries, state flag and seal, festivals and events, finances, and the state's population statistics compared to other states in its region. There's a map, of course, with major attractions, national parks, and freeways clearly labeled, and facts on state weather, topography, flora, and fauna. This is all followed by a quick history of the state, myriad population statistics, ethnicity, education, and economics. A map of Arizona, for example, is dotted with little icons of beef, sheep, coal, cotton, fruit, and sorghums, showing not only how much, but also which regions are devoted to which products. Each state takes just seven pages or so to convey this trove of information.

Let's say you're contemplating a move and your kids are in high school. You can learn that in 1990, Massachusetts spent $6,351 per pupil, the mean SAT verbal score in 1991 was 426, and the average teacher's salary in 1992 was $37,300, compared to Kansas, which spent $5,044, had mean verbal SATs of 493, and paid $30,700 to teachers.

There's an enormous amount of information here, but the best part is that it's easy to access and easy to understand. For students, business travelers, and armchair sociologists, the Macmillan Atlas is an exceedingly useful tome, but it's downright required for a family road trip. The map would certainly be useful, but better still the atlas would give the kids something to do while you're looking for the next rest stop. --Stephanie Gold

From Booklist:

This volume summarizes information about each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia using color maps. Mattson is a cartographer and the author of several well-received atlases, including Atlas of the 1990 Census [RBB Mr 15 93]. This new atlas is similar to Atlas of the 1990 Census, but while that book looked at the entire U.S. by state, this one looks at individual states by county. Seven pages are devoted to each state using a standard format similar to state entries in World Book Encyclopedia. Text provides capsule accounts of cultural features, climate, environment, history, important events, famous citizens, government, education, the economy, and resources. The large political map for each state is not as detailed as the state maps in encyclopedias, and only several dozen place-names on the map are indexed. Smaller maps show physical regions, population growth and density, distribution of income, distribution of minorities throughout the state, and land use. The physical regions map of Illinois misidentifies the Gulf Coastal Plain as being in the northern part of the state when it is actually at the southern tip. Graphs, charts, and tables show unemployment rate, population projections, relative size of economic sectors, and the ethnic composition of the state. They are well designed and easy to interpret. A useful feature is the comparisons of the state to its region and to other states. Seventeen pages of fast-facts tables at the end of the book further summarize statistics for states and metropolitan areas. Information on four territories (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa & Northern Mariana Islands) is squeezed onto two pages. The one-page appendix is puzzling. It contains brief accounts of environmental quality for six states. This information is included in the state entry for all the other states.

The information in this atlas is available in most encyclopedias but is not always as attractively presented as it is here. The synthesis of maps and text makes this a useful, if pricey, item for school and public libraries.

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