Comprehensiveness rating: 4 read less
The text presents a solid foundation suitable for introductory Geography courses. Unfortunately it does not provide an index, but it does include a useful glossary.
Accuracy rating: 5
The book's content is accurate, error-free and unbiased.
Relevance/Longevity rating: 5
While updating any maps will have to be attended to as states change, they are currently accurate, with, for example, South Sudan shown appropriately.
Clarity rating: 5
The book is written is a lucid style, providing adequate context for any specialized terms used. It avoids getting into terminology more appropriate for upper division geography courses. For instance, it mentions and defines geomorphology, but not aeolian geomorphogy.
Consistency rating: 5
The text is consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
Modularity rating: 3
The author uses a, "thematic approach... Instead of repeating the same several themes each chapter, this text emphasizes
depth over breadth by arranging each chapter around a central theme and then exploring that theme in detail as it applies to the particular region." That is fine, but would seem to make stand alone chapters difficult. As noted, "In a traditional World Regional Geography textbook, chapters are arranged around the various regions of the world with each chapter focusing on the geographic features of the particular region." The are pros and cons with either approach, but the benefit of the "traditional" here may be precisely its modularity.
Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5
In keeping with contemporary pedagogical fashions, the author organized the text, "with the backward course design model in mind and the content of each chapter was structured around these learning objectives. Because of this backward design focus, the length of each chapter is considerably shorter than most traditional textbooks. The intention is for the instructor to supplement the text with problems, case studies, and news articles and to use the text as a springboard for discussing deeper issues."
Interface rating: 3
Several of the maps include details that are, quite frankly, impossible to decipher. Page 99, for example, shows something about population, but...? This is okay, as long as the on-line zoom function is available and doesn't distort, but many of the maps would be useless if printed out. It would also be helpful to include the names of countries on many of the maps rather than just their shaded-in shapes. Most students will not know, for example, that Eritrea is being referenced on pg. 104.
Grammatical Errors rating: 5
I didn't see any grammatical errors.
Cultural Relevance rating: 5
The text is quite culturally sensitive and inoffensive. Here, the author goes out of her way to err on what some readers may feel is an overly "political correct" way. For example, rather than discussing the Middle East, the author opts for North Africa and Southwest Asia. The author feels that the Middle East is an "awkward" lexical choice as it is "privileges the European perspective," which it certainly does. The challenge here, though, then involves a series of other discursive gymnastics to get to "North Africa and Southwest Asia," which, paradoxically, carry their own Eurocentric baggage. Is it really necessary to spend 400 words to get there? This is an issue that geographers go back and forth on, but the point is that the author certainly takes care to be sensitive.
Overall, this is a solid text suitable for introductory World Regional Geography courses.