" The Times " Comprehensive Atlas of the World 2000 (10th Edition)

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For more than three decades, The Times Atlas of the World has earned international renown for the beauty and legibility of its mapping and its unparalleled detail for coverage of all parts of the globe. As Lord Shackleton, former president of the Royal Geographical Society, said of an earlier edition, it is "the finest reference atlas ever published." Now, The Times Atlas of the World, Tenth Comprehensive Edition, the first completely revised edition since The Times Atlas of the World debuted in 1967, establishes an even higher standard among all reference atlases, and a new benchmark in its own unparalleled tradition.

The Tenth Comprehensive Edition opens with stunning satellite images of the continents and the oceans as they appear from space. This preliminary section continues with a series of graphics, photographs, maps, tables, and charts reviewing the cosmos, the natural world, and humanity's interaction with our home planet. Next is a comparative list of Earth's physical features, from rivers to mountains to islands to deserts, and a complete statistical guide to the states and territories of the world. This opening section concludes with a fascinating chronicle on the evolution of world mapping, beginning with our first attempt to map the world more than a thousand years ago.

The central section of The Tenth Comprehensive Edition, with 248 pages of breathtakingly detailed reference maps, provides the most accurate and up-to-date visual presentation of geographical knowledge in any atlas today. Each map, drawn with generous scale and projection, has been entirely redesigned since the last edition, using the latest digital technology. While creating maps of optimum accuracy, these new methods also provide enhanced clarity and greater legibility than ever before, even for an atlas that was already legendary for the readability of its maps. In addition to recording the new states and republics created by political upheaval in this last decade before the millennium, The Tenth Comprehensive Edition includes a multitude of renamed towns and cities, along with many revised national borders.

The revised and expanded index, covering more than 200,000 place names, is the largest index ever found in a single-volume atlas, virtually ensuring that any location a reader may be looking for will be included in the book. The index is also unique in scope, giving the name, description, regional and country locations, the map grid reference, page number, and latitude and longitude. No other atlas comes close to providing such an index, either in sheer numbers or in reference value.

In the last three decades, The Times Atlas of the World has been in the vanguard of a revolution in the science of cartography, replacing maps formerly created on hand-etched copper plates with maps that are computer-generated. The Times Atlas of the World, Tenth Comprehensive Edition, represents the fullest flowering yet of this remarkable revolution in cartography. It is the finest atlas ever published, sure to be treasured by students, scholars, armchair travelers, global sightseers, and anyone seeking better understanding of our dynamic planet.

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From the Back Cover:


"The Times Atlas of the World is the best, most comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date single-volume atlas now available."--The New York Times

From Booklist:

Librarians and atlas aficionados have waited with anticipation for the tenth edition of The Times Atlas of the World. It has finally arrived, advertised as the "first completely revised and redesigned edition" since the first edition of 1967 and the "most comprehensive portrayal of the world available."

Maps and the index are the heart and soul of a good atlas, and Times is impressive in these areas. The 248 pages of maps, produced through digital technology, are beautiful. The colors of the maps have been changed, and the lighter hues show differences in elevation more clearly. The lighter colors combined with a clearer typeface make the place names easier to read.

Starting with Oceania and ending with South America, the book begins each continent section with a political map. There are at least 10 plates for each section, often with more than one map of a region, with the definition increasing with each map. Many atlases are criticized for having less coverage of Asia, but Times has doubled its number of maps on Japan and added five additional pages of maps on China. There is no doubt that the 200,000-plus place-name index is an impressive achievement, far exceeding the index in any competitive atlas. But it seems to have shrunk in certain instances--Morris, New York, and Wahroonga, Australia, were listed in the index and on maps in the ninth edition but are not found in the tenth. The introduction to the index does verify that all listings in the index appear on maps, something not true of all atlases.

The atlas's introductory material is both visually intriguing and interesting to read. The satellite image of the Antarctica is strikingly beautiful. The new millennium is emphasized with double-page spreads of the world in 2000 by subject: earthquakes, oceans, land cover, population, energy, etc. A fact in the climate section (the highest wind velocity in a tornado was recorded in Oklahoma on May 3, 1999) demonstrates the atlas's currency. Statistical information on countries and states precede the maps, while a glossary of geographic terms in languages other than English follows the maps.

The Board noted a few problems with the maps. The city of Constitucion (pop. 40,000) can be found on the detailed map of Chile but not on the general map, although smaller towns in the area appear on both. Using Chile in another example, mistakes are perpetuated from one edition to another. In both the ninth and tenth editions, El Tofo is listed in both the index and on the map as El Toro. But the major criticism of this fine atlas is the lack of city maps. The ninth edition (and other major world atlases) includes inset or full-page maps of cities and their environs. The closest the tenth edition comes is one page each for the area of San Francisco and Los Angeles and a double-page of the U.S. Northeast corridor. Inset maps are reserved for islands: Gibraltar, the Hawaiian Islands, Hong Kong. A minor annoyance is the lack of a symbol for a projected highway on the symbols and abbreviations page.

Despite a few disappointments, this new edition of a classic reference source is a beautiful, comprehensive, and well-done depiction of the world at the beginning of a new millennium. Its closest competitor is the second edition of The Book of the World [RBB Je 1 & 15 99], which is larger and flashier but has an index half the size. Priced at about half the cost of The Book of the World, The Times Atlas of the World should be considered for purchase by all libraries.

Reference Books in brief

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9780812932652: Times Atlas of the World : 10th Comprehensive Edition

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9780812929454: Times Atlas of the World: Comprehensive Edition (10th ed)

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