Earth’s Landscape: An Encyclopedia of the World’s Geographic Features. By Joyce A. Quinn and Susan L. Woodward. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2015. 2 vols. acid free $205 (ISBN: 978-1-61069-445-2). E-book available (978-1-61069-446-9), call for pricing.

Authors Joyce Quinn and Susan Woodward combine their decades of research, teaching, and knowledge in Earth’s Landscape: An Encyclopedia of the World’s Geographic Features. The entries in this two volume set focus on 460 of the natural geographic features of the earth. The introduction provides a wealth of useful background information, including a table of the geologic time scale, a table of major climate types and descriptions of the earth’s major surface features. The authors state, “this work fills a common gap in physical geography education, the absence of details about specific examples of topics typically covered in the classroom. It also assembles in one place information that usually requires a search through many disparate sources to find” (xxvii).

The organization of the individual entries demonstrates the interdisciplinary approach that the authors mention in the preface, and allows users to quickly identify discrete bits of information from associated disciplines. Entries are organized under bolded subheadings, with the majority of information contained within the “Description” section. Additional details about each natural feature are included under such subheadings as “Geographic Coordinates,” “Geologic History,” “Biota,” “Protected Areas,” and “Environmental Issues.” The entries are well written and typically lack jargon; however, in cases where more complicated terminology is used, there is a glossary for consultation. The entries are complimented with various tables, black and white photographs, and sidebars containing additional facts. For researchers seeking further information, the authors provide a wealth of additional resources in multiple places throughout the volumes. In addition to the further reading section at the end of each entry, the authors also highlight relevant resources at the conclusion of the “Introduction;” as well as in bibliographies associated with each opposing viewpoint in appendix 2; and additionally, there are three full pages of recommended resources listed in the second volume.

A search in OCLC’s WorldCat database reveals that many of the physical geography encyclopedias published in the last decade are geared toward a juvenile audience or have a narrower scope. In comparison with McColl’s Encyclopedia of World Geography (Facts on File, 2005), which has a broader scope, entries in Earth’s Landscape: An Encyclopedia of the World’s Geographic Features omit topics related to human geography and focus on the earth’s physical features specifically; additionally, the entries contain information about some of the environmental concerns currently plaguing the earth (for example, the entry for the “Pacific Ocean” includes information about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch). Also, Quinn and Woodward’s set includes highly valuable teaching and learning resources in three appendixes. The first appendix provides quick statistics and top ten lists of the earth’s geographic features. The second appendix addresses six contemporary issues related to natural features, and provides two opposing perspectives about each issue. One of the questions listed is, “Can damage to natural landscapes in time of war be minimized? Who is responsible for rehabilitation or recompense, the victor or the vanquished, at the close of the war?” (789). Each of the six issues is framed in a way to encourage critical thinking and would be useful for faculty in the classroom.

This unique set fills a gap in the literature and would be an excellent resource to support curriculum in geography and the environmental sciences, and is highly recommended for academic library collections.—Lisa Presley, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio


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