World Regional Geography
Caitlin Finlayson, University of Mary Washington
Copyright Year: 2016
ISBN 13: 1077115032
Publisher: Caitlin Finlayson
Conditions of Use
Chapter 1 provides a concise overview of the discipline and a solid overview of core concepts that allow students to get acclimated to thinking geographically. I like that bolded concepts can be clicked and defined without navigating away from... read more
Chapter 1 provides a concise overview of the discipline and a solid overview of core concepts that allow students to get acclimated to thinking geographically. I like that bolded concepts can be clicked and defined without navigating away from the main text. However, the glossary itself is problematic. First, you cannot search or browse by term or letter. Second, the definitions are awfully brief and not particularly helpful on their own.
Each chapter provides sufficient detail and generalized perspectives that are not overtly biased. While I have not read every word, overall it looks well edited. Some of the tables are linked to Our World Data, a source I trust and which is updated regularly. Some of the maps and images are linked to Wikipedia, which I know has come a long way since it's founding, but it not a source I would point students to or rely upon for accurate information. I typically point my students to Britannica, the CIA World Factbook, NASA, and Gap Minder, which are not perfect sources, but are far more scholarly.
Some of the figures are linked to Our World Data and are done in such a way that they will automatically provide the most up to date information. Other figures are linked to sources that are more static or out of date. This is a difficult problem to overcome because online sources are constantly redesigned and addressed. Some of the maps and images are linked to Wikipedia, which provides a link with a source that will be updated and use the same address, but it is not necessarily a source that improves over time.
The book does an excellent job of succinctly providing background and introducing complex concepts. The writing is clear and well organized. Sometimes the succinct writing does do at the expense of complexity, but that is a limitation of any textbook.
The text is consistent without being overly routinized. Each chapter presents the world region with an emphasis on its distinctiveness and diversity, while using concepts and tropes that are familiar from previous chapters and the introduction. Each chapter is well organized and easy to navigate because of the consist organization and structure.
The chapters are well organized. The sub-sections are well chosen and easy to navigate between in the online version. The PDF version does have bookmarks by chapter, but could be improved by adding bookmarks to the sub-sections as well. Some chapters have a section with a key words like "Current, Modern, or Future" that suggests that section would be a natural place for updates on contemporary issues. However, other sub-sections also have topics that will require updating or adding new themes. I'm not sure exactly how to make that process easy in the future, but I suppose we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
The chapters are well organized and ordered. Chapter 1 does exactly what a chapter in a World Regions book should: introduces the discipline, geographic themes, and overarching concepts. The regions are well grouped and ordered to present a post-colonial narrative by starting with Europe, moving to the Global South, and moving on to the Pacific World. The sub-sections are well chosen and easy to navigate between in the online version. The PDF version does have bookmarks by chapter, but could be improved by adding bookmarks to the sub-sections as well.
I like that bolded concepts can be clicked and defined without navigating away from the main text. However, the glossary itself is problematic. First, you cannot search or browse by term or letter. Second, the definitions are awfully brief and not particularly helpful on their own. The tables and maps look good both online and in the PDF. I wish there was a way to click on them and make them full screen (particularly the maps) so it is easy to take a closer look at the trends and distributions. I also like that the tables and maps are linked to websites where students can learn more. Although I do think that Wikipedia is used far too often as a general source of information.
While I have not read every page carefully, it appears to be well edited and written.
The text offers diverse perspectives and celebrates multiculturalism. World Geography deals with politically charged issues. So, I'm sure that someone with a "bone to pick" would take issue with the way some geopolitical themes are framed. However, the text is accurate and written in a way that allows the reader and the instructor to learn more about how different groups of people or nations might view the topics presented.
Very nice online textbook and the best open-source book I've found for World Geography. I can tell that the author put a lot of time and effort into developing this resource and I am grateful. I am very tempted to ditch my expensive textbook from the publisher for this book. It's particularly tempting because students can purchase a printed copy, download the PDF, or visit the book online. The only thing that's holding me back is that I rely heavily on publisher online resources. In particular I like the interactive mapping software my publisher offers. I'm not sure how we can overcome that in the open-access format, but I'm open to suggestions and searching for answers.
Finlayson covers the regions of the world covered by most standard world regional geography. While the first chapter does cover in a single chapter the basic concepts of geography that often take 2-3 chapters in other more comprehensive texts, the... read more
Finlayson covers the regions of the world covered by most standard world regional geography. While the first chapter does cover in a single chapter the basic concepts of geography that often take 2-3 chapters in other more comprehensive texts, the coverage is certainly adequate and gives a good foundation off of which to build lectures.
I have not found any glaring errors.
The most impressive addition to Finlayson, one that I haven't seen elsewhere, is the section on the Arctic and The Law of the Seas included in the standard chapter on Oceania and Antarctica (section 10.2). With current conflicts over maritime resources, maritime shipping routes, and access to the Arctic in the face of melting Arctic sea ice, this section supports exploration of these important current events. This also well-supports my project assignment on the Belt and Road Initiative.
Very clear, and the addition of highlighted vocabulary terms that can be clicked on for definition is a real plus when dealing with the issue of the lack of common vocabulary among students.
Very consistent throughout.
Chapter broken into logical sections.
Well-organized in a standard "regional" approach to regional geography.
Everything looks good, but the term search function seems a bit clunky and doesn't always give the desired outcome.
No grammatical errors I have seen. The reading level is accessible but not simplistic.
Finlayson takes great pains to approach issues of exploitation and equity throughout.
The book is certainly brief, but gives a more than adequate foundation for my course. It is easy to navigate as well. One of the most outstanding aspects of this book is the author: She is accessible and is building a community of users who share ideas and resources. When considering this book on the recommendation of a colleague, I emailed the author. She responded the next day with encouragement, real interest, and recommendations for resources. She is great! You may not see me in your list of participants because my spouse and I participated in your event jointly, registered under the email, firstname.lastname@example.org. I am email@example.com.
Text provides a useful glossary. There is no index, although one can search for items easily. Chap 1 provides a basic introduction to geography. Other chapters provide more geographical information about the world regions. East and South East... read more
Text provides a useful glossary. There is no index, although one can search for items easily. Chap 1 provides a basic introduction to geography. Other chapters provide more geographical information about the world regions. East and South East Asia are merged into one chapter, they should be separate.
There are no biases. Fairly accurate discussion.
The book provides a snapshot of global issues and regional analysis in 2019. It should be updated every two years.
very clear, terminology is adequately explained
Each chapter is organized with subheadings. The reader can easily find different sections for example Europe 2.1 European Physical Geography and Boundaries 27 2.2 Cooperation and Control in Europe 30 2.3 The Industrial Revolution 35 2.4 European Migration 39 2.5 Shifting National Identities 40 2.6 Current Migration Patterns and Debates 44
easy to read and follow the text. maps and graphics are useful.
well-written, no major grammar/ syntax problems
The material is written form a US perspective rather than form a global perspective. it is difficult to see the local cultures in each of the world regions. More analysis is given to physical, political and economic geographies of the regions.
The chapters are short. While the text provides basic geography of the regions, the reader whether instructor or student would need to do more digging. perhaps some references or additional readings would be useful.
The book covers all major world regions. I dislike that East and Southeast Asia is lumped into a single region. Most world regional geography textbooks split that part of Asia into at two regions for better depth of coverage of this high... read more
The book covers all major world regions. I dislike that East and Southeast Asia is lumped into a single region. Most world regional geography textbooks split that part of Asia into at two regions for better depth of coverage of this high population, diverse region. Because she only chooses a few topics per region, which topics differ from chapter to chapter, she can't present an overall comprehensive picture of WRG. For the Russia region, I felt like I was reading a history textbook. I suppose this is because "in emphasizing depth over breadth, some content was sacrificed."
Finlayson typically spouts general knowledge found in other similar textbooks. This means she is fairly vague and makes some statements that are inaccurate because it appears she hasn't fully researched the issues. Because she relies on open source maps, several times her maps don't correspond closely with what she describes in the text and sometimes the maps are poorly designed without a sufficient legend or description of mapped items.
Finlayson published in 2016. I'm not sure how often she updates her materials.
Finlayson writes in a student friendly fashion. I almost feel like I'm in her classroom as she lectures.
Because she relies on open source mapping, her chapters vary widely in the quality of graphics and even similar topics use maps that don't match. For example, she presents a climate map of Europe, but no other chapter contains one. How is a student supposed to compare features among regions? I could name many more subjects discussed for one region, but not for any other--population density, economic development, etc.
You could easily slice out one chapter and it could stand alone. However, see my comment about consistency.
Chapter order is fine. Within chapters, however, she seems to have "stream of consciousness" arrangement, i.e., whatever interests Finlayson gets printed in whatever order brings her joy.
You can't click from the table of contents to forward to a chapter or sub-chapter. Within a chapter, I saw no problems with distortion or confusing display features.
Finlayson writes at a professional English level.
Covering a world full of different cultures, Finlayson presents the barest surface so doesn't have a chance to become offensive. When she does address a sensitive topic of culture, she is inclusive and not offensive.
For free, it's acceptable albeit inconsistent and sloppy. Save students a few bucks and fill in the gaps with your own material. I've used it for a couple of semesters. However, Finlayson's World Regional Geography is nowhere near the quality of the traditional world regional geography textbooks that students must pay for.
The book uses a regional approach and is concise for an introductory textbook, which could be appealing to many undergraduates. It covers basic concepts and topics in geography and introduces students to primary branches (human and physical) and... read more
The book uses a regional approach and is concise for an introductory textbook, which could be appealing to many undergraduates. It covers basic concepts and topics in geography and introduces students to primary branches (human and physical) and the many sub-discipline perspectives in geography, such as economic, political, and climatology, for example. Throughout the book, the sub-discipline perspectives are integrated into the descriptions of the regions, highlighting human and physical geography dimensions of the discipline. The author however consistently falls short when it comes to human-environment interactions, namely global environmental change, disasters and hazards geography. Examples include simple descriptions of El Nino, causes of climate, and root causes of deforestation in the Amazon, for example. There are also some concepts that I would expect (for example, global south, imperialism) given the author application of core and periphery concepts. There is a glossary but no index provided, although given this is a web-based document, one could simply search the document for terms.
The book appears accurate, but in some instances the descriptions are too concise and miss some information. For example, the description of the stage two of the demographic transition needs careful review. There should be a mention that industrialization begins.
The book content needs updates and needs to be consistent about updates. For example, there are one or two references about Donald Trump in 2017 and 2018 (e.g. about NAFTA), but fails to update other sections or topics (e.g., Brexit, current immigration issues, Yemen, etc.).
The text is accessible, but does not always provide adequate context or explanation of terms, for example, the human development index and European Union.
The regional framework is consistent. There is also a consistent application of core and periphery concepts, suggesting a critical view. With regards to physical geography, the author introduces the Koppen classification early as a way to describe ecosystems and climate in regions, which is useful; this however was not always applied (for example, North America).
The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections.
The text is organized in a clear fashion.
The text has many significant interface issues, inconsistent size of fonts and images, which may distract the reader. For example, Figure 4.8 and Figure 4.10. In some cases, the text within maps is too small to read even when you zoom in (for example, Figures 1.15 or 2.5). This is largely due however to the nature of the project, which relies on open source information. Some text or phrases are not consistently bolded (for example when discussing Figures).
I found many misspelled words and lack of spaces in between words, particularly in the first chapter. There are also some instances where the sentence is incomplete or incorrect (see Section 1.7).
Cultural context seems appropriate.
The book clearly needs a copy editor to proofread and make suggestions about consistency. Basically, the author could use assistance. There is also a need for more images, in some cases - fewer maps (provide table of data instead particularly where the maps do not provide much detail), and Boxes which could highlight a case study or example for a region (for example, El Nino and Disasters in Latin America; Migration Challenges).
The regional approach follows the typical organization and topics of a world regional text. There are fewer maps, tables, and pictures than you typically see since the author is reliant on open sources and Creative Commons licenses. The topics... read more
The regional approach follows the typical organization and topics of a world regional text. There are fewer maps, tables, and pictures than you typically see since the author is reliant on open sources and Creative Commons licenses. The topics covered in the text are comprehensive, but some chapters are light on economic activities and focus more on globalization. The text addresses different specialties in geography, such as biogeography, population geography, and economic geography, in the different regions and uses each region to address certain aspects of human geography throughout the text rather than examining and illustrating them in the introductory chapter. This is helpful to not get bogged down in the beginning and introduction, but can be a drawback. For example, the population pyramids are not explained or introduced until you get to South Asia, so the first pyramid you see is in chapter 8. Some regions are that are separated out in other texts are combined, such as the Caribbean, Central America, and South America into Latin America, as well as East and Southeast Asia, so this inherently means it goes into less detail about some of these combined regions and individual countries in the regions. I like some texts that include tables or statistics to compare countries within the region, and I think this easily be added to the text or the instructor would supplement.
I found no mistakes or errors.
Very up-to-date with relevant issues in the past 5 years.
Great writing style that is easy to read and follow.
Unlike some texts that repeat a topic in each region, the chapter subheadings are somewhat different, so it is not as easy to assign the “population section” or "culture sections" for each region. The physical geography section is usually the first section, but other topics do not follow the same format. This is a matter of personal preference, but it does take more time to find a particular topic.
There are different headings and topics for each chapter, which can be good to avoid repetition and the need to cover every topic in every region, but a little more difficult for modularity. The text makes it easy to assign shorter readings for topics not covered in class or to supplement lecture.
Organized by region with about 5-6 subheadings, typical of other world regional texts. Some regions are that are separated out in other texts are combined, such as the Caribbean, Central America, and South America into Latin America, as well as East and Southeast Asia. This is personal preference, but it does make it easier to cover all content, rather than what seems like skipping whole chapters or regions to students. I would like a list of each section at the beginning of the chapter, not just in the table of contents.
Currently the text is only available in a pdf, with few imbedded functions other than the chapter bookmarks.The pdf is quite large, 81 mb, so can be difficult to download, open, or save on some hardware. Some images are too small to be readable or properly analyzed because of lack of detail.
I found no grammatical issues.
I found no issues with culturally insensitive content and addresses ethnic groups and diversity in each region.
I really enjoyed reading the text myself, and I used it in my summer class. I found it easy to assign just a section or two to reinforce lecture or address a topic I could not cover in class. It is more of a resource and reference for the class, and there are no supplemental materials that correspond to it. Likely useful for an instructor that already pulls material from multiple sources and is looking for a complementary and supplementary text.
The textbook has an outline for the chapters and sections. Each section has the respective page numbers labeled in the table of contents. The first chapter goes over geographic basics and terminology that is utilized throughout the semester. The... read more
The textbook has an outline for the chapters and sections. Each section has the respective page numbers labeled in the table of contents. The first chapter goes over geographic basics and terminology that is utilized throughout the semester. The remaining nine chapters explain the physical and cultural aspects for each realm through introducing new terminology. A couple of important geo-political topics are missing from the book. This includes: the European Union, Problems in Iran, and changing North Korea-US diplomatic relations. There are others but these are the current topics that should be within the book. Overall, it does contain the necessary information and terminology utilized within a typical World Regional Geography class.
The content is mostly accurate and contains the correct information for specific terms. The climates are accurate in each chapter giving a brief description as to why each realm contains these specific zones. The historical events and cultural phenomena for each realm are explained in detail. The book can be a little bias over some topics. The first chapter goes over inequality/poverty towards the end, but does not go into differing aspects why poverty is rampant in specific realms. For globalization, the book only mentions Western cultural influences; nothing is present over Eastern cultural influences, with the growth of China. The chapter over Latin America contains liberation theology, this is not geography term and can give the perception this is the authors personal beliefs. The topic over Israel and Palestine focuses more on the Palestinians than the Israelis, not giving both perspectives equally. Information on the topic is very short when compared to other books. There are other instances of bias but these topics stuck out.
The book has up-to-date information including recent occurrences within the world, especially over the Ukraine, Arab Spring, and the Refugee Crisis. The book is set-up so future impactful global events can be added. Every chapter(except for the first) contains information over current events and problems within each realm. In the future, information over the current crisis in Iran could be added at a later date. Another example would be potential changes with the diplomatic relations between the United States and North Korea.
The book is very well written for an introductory course. Easy to follow and has a nice flow. The terminology is explained thoroughly using specific examples.
The book is laid out in an easy to follow fashion. Besides the introduction chapter, each chapter has a specific order. Every chapter starts on the physical landscape, going over physical features and climate. Historical information is presented for every realm, this allows the reader to connect how historical events were shaped by the geographic landscapes. Every chapter explains the culture and settlement patterns, ending with current events/problems.
All of the sections within each chapter allows an instructor to assign specific pages to cover important topics from the table of contents. The glossary contains all the terms described throughout the book. As stated before there should be an index to aid students in looking up specific information.
The book follows the order of most World Regional Geography textbooks. It starts with an introduction to what geography entails, explaining basic human and physical geographic terms. The rest of the book goes by realm as follows: Europe, Russia, North America, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa & Southwest Asia, South Asia, East & Southeast Asia, and Oceania. Overall, the order is effective. However, Latin America should have been split between two chapters: Central America and South America. East and Southeast Asia should be separate chapters because of their economic and cultural differences. Though it is understandable the author is trying to condense the information
Having the book in a PDF format to download is helpful for students; especially if they have slow or minimal internet access. However, there should be an index to reference specific topics and terms. Some map legends are hard to read. The legends in figures 6.7 and 6.13 from the Sub-Saharan Africa chapter are hard to see unless the maps are downloaded separately. If the student has eyesight problems this can be problematic. However, the majority of maps within the book are easy read and have effective color usage to show differences among various countries/regions.
The book does not contain any grammar errors after reading it several times. Overall it is very well written.
There are no instances I situated in which the author used insensitive or offensive terms for various cultural groups within our globalized world. However, Aboriginal should have been utilized for the First People of the Western Hemisphere in-lieu of Indigenous. Attention was given to the Mayans and Aztecs within Latin America, though there should have been information over the Incas. The author effectively explained the beliefs of the three Western religions and extremists within each religious group while utilizing sensitive language.
This is an effective textbook and recommend for any World Regional Geography course. Though it is somewhat bias, it is important students are exposed to all perspectives. Having students read these perspectives shows other viewpoints, allowing for greater discussions on various topics.
The text covers the regions and realms well and includes basic coverage for lower division courses. It focuses mainly on Core/Periphery and Globalization. This text has a glossary that is helpful, but there is no index. Some important issues for... read more
The text covers the regions and realms well and includes basic coverage for lower division courses. It focuses mainly on Core/Periphery and Globalization. This text has a glossary that is helpful, but there is no index. Some important issues for specific regions are missing, such as traditional agricultural methods, and explaining issues with tropical soils and deforestation, in the chapter on South America.
The information appears to be accurate. However, since it is a few years old populations have changed by several million.
Tables for statistics that change would make updates easy to implement. It would also be helpful to have dates for statistics (e.g. population as of 2015 is/was...)
Excellent. The text is well-written, easy to read, and does a great job of defining terms as it goes.
Chapters cover similar basics per region (physical geography and settlement, for example) and then vary slightly, with some having a section on natural hazards, and others on biogeography, or religious conflict, for example.
Though the textbook lacks an index, it does have a detailed table of contents that should make it easy to assign specific sections to students.
The textbook is well organized by region, and with sub-sections, headings and helpful figures.
Easy to navigate to sections via the table of contents. For some reason I had a difficult time using the search or find function in my PDF viewer and web browser for this textbook. If this problem is duplicated for others, this is a major downside for the instructor and students.
I found no grammatical errors. It is written in a clear, easy to read manner.
I did not find the text to be culturally insensitive. That said, I do think the textbook could do more to look at indigenous practices prior to and since colonization in different regions.
Overall, this is a good textbook for covering many basics of regional geography, with room to supplement. The text is only available in pdf format or online, and in both cases, the text stays on a particular page, rather than adjusting based on size. The online format simply looks like a pdf online, but with a table of contents/menu on side bar. The addition of ePub and other formats would be helpful (compare with another World Regional Geography textbook, where there are multiple formats).
Caitlin Finlayson’s World Regional Geography provides a comprehensive introduction to help instructors and students understand the thematic approach to geography that she as provided in the text. The introduction offers an exploration of the role... read more
Caitlin Finlayson’s World Regional Geography provides a comprehensive introduction to help instructors and students understand the thematic approach to geography that she as provided in the text. The introduction offers an exploration of the role and importance of the spatial perspective as well as a guide to the different themes that will be explored in the text. The book is outlined like a traditional world geography textbook including chapters on Europe, Russia, North America, Middle and South America, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and Southwest Asia, South Asia, East and Southeast Asia, and Oceania. In the text, Finlayson goes beyond the traditional approach in world geography and not only includes descriptions of geographic features of regions such as climate, physical features, culture, economics, etc., but also emphasizes depth over breadth by arranging each chapter around different themes with those of globalization and inequality being two uniting forces. The learning objectives presented at the beginning of each chapter offer the instructor and reader a way to navigate the text. Thought the chapters are shorter than a traditional regional geography textbook, they provide depth in context of the themes discussed and offer a way for instructors to utilize supplemental material to make the course more present and relatable to the students. The figures that are provided in each chapter are up-to-date and relevant to students, making it easier to relate to the text. The author also includes current trends in the discipline of geography, such as in chapter five with her discussion of income inequality in South America and the current research on urban development. The text is also a living text, in that it is updated. Finally, the text does provide an in-depth glossary of terms bolded throughout the text, but there is no index provided from the book.
Having used three other world regional textbooks before I found Finlayson’s, I would say the text is quite accurate and the information contained within is well research from the physical geography of a region to the current political and cultural climate of each region discussed.
The book is written up-to-date and provides an instructor opportunity to add supplemental material to help include more current themes and case studies in their course. Using globalization as a major theme of the text makes it quite easy for an instructor to keep the text current with their own content with the text as a springboard. The chapters often use case studies of different places within a region, which can seem like an over generalization or a region, but it must be remembered that this text should act as a guide and more detailed examples and case studies should be brought into the classroom to interact with the students. A beneficial element in using this textbook is the requirement to from each based on the students and the time when the class is being taught. The book is also being updated and I have seen the 2018 edition, which shows that the author has written a text that facilitates updates, which only enhance the book.
The book is well-written, and the prose are quite clear. The language used in the book makes the text approachable by the instructor and their students. The author provides an important introduction to the text to be upfront and clear about her approach in her writing, which is important to the clarity of the entire book. The use of figures, images, and maps helps to clarify many of her points and therefore appeals to the visual learner.
The textbook presents an interesting view to the study of world regional geography at the undergraduate level, one which is not often take, that of a thematic approach. In traditional undergraduate textbooks on world regional geography, each chapter represents a world region, often not all of them. Then within each chapter physical features and generalized cultural aspects of a country are discussed. Finlayson’s texts move away from that traditional approach to focus on important themes to geography and the regions at hand. To structure her text, she does rely on the traditional approach of regions as chapters, but I believe it helps provide consistency not only in the text itself, but for how we have taught geography in the past. This approach along with her framework of subdivisions between physical and human geography makes the text easier for students to read and follow along.
The structure and flow of the text along with its regional organizational schema makes it a great text to model to any world regional geography course. There are ten chapters, which is perfect for a fifteen-week course allowing for some chapters to be divided into multiple weeks. The objectives that are presented at the beginning of each chapter also allow the instructor to use different strategies when exploring each chapter with their students. The book provides a good overview of the physical and human settings for each region before jumping into the theme that will be discussed in the chapter. For example, in chapter two the author provides a description of the physical geography of Europe and the development of the human setting (a focus on the Industrial revolution), before exploring the theme of migration and identity. This type of structure allows for the instructor to begin where they like and add material to the course as they see fit.
The organization of the book is very clear, well thought out, and easy to follow. The author divides the book into regional chapters. Within each chapter, there are subsections which explore the physical geography, human geography, and historical setting of the region. Then each chapter includes a thematic discussion of the region focusing, for example, on globalization or inequality. The prose is clear and easy to read and would make any reader comfortable to learn about this detailed and important subject matter. Finally, the bolded key terms make for an easy way to find the important points from each chapter as well as providing concepts that will return throughout the text.
The pdf format for this textbook is great both for the instructor and students. Having the material in this format facilitates easy of reading, note-taking, and intext searches. The students also enjoy reading online as they are used to using screens, so the text is perfect for the students of this age.
In my reading of the text through multiple times I did not find any grammatical errors that were obvious.
This textbook is culturally sensitive and providing material that is understood and appreciative of all cultures. In chapter eight, her discussion of cultural groups in South Asia takes care to explore the migratory patterns and development of culture and ethnicity in the region. As a geography of religion scholar, she provides detail on the various religious groups in the region. The maps and photos are beautiful color images that bring to life the text to highlight the cultural identity of the individuals discussed.
This textbook provides an innovative way to teach students the spatial perspective and the importance of studying geography not for memorization of place names and physical features, but to understand how to study the world through the discipline of geography. The clear and conscience writing style of the book proves attractive to instructors and students who can easily open to any chapter and clearly understand the approach, theoretical foundations, and regional diversity. I would not look at this textbook as a separate alternative to costly textbooks just because it is an open access text, but rather, I see this book as holding equal ground with any textbook on world regional geography. It is engaging, thought provoking, and relevant to our modern world and the society in which our students are learning. I would highly recommend this textbook to any instructor or student of geography as a foundation to their study of the world’s regions and cultures.
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. read more
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.
The book's content is accurate, error-free and unbiased.
While updating any maps will have to be attended to as states change, they are currently accurate, with, for example, South Sudan shown appropriately.
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.
The text is consistent in terms of terminology and framework.
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.
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."
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.
I didn't see any grammatical errors.
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.
Table of Contents
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Europe
- 3. Russia
- 4. North America
- 5. Middle and South America
- 6. Sub-Saharan Africa
- 7. North Africa and Southwest Asia
- 8. South Asia
- 9. East and Southeast Asia
- 10. Oceania
About the Book
Rather than present students with a broad, novice-level introduction to geography, emphasizing places and vocabulary terms, this text approaches geography as experts understand the discipline, focusing on connections and an in-depth understanding of core themes. This thematic approach, informed by pedagogical research, provides students with an introduction to thinking geographically. 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. In addition, while chapters are designed to stand alone and be rearranged or eliminated at the instructor's discretion, the theme of globalization and inequality unites all of the regions discussed. This core focus enables students to draw connections between regions and to better understand the interconnectedness of our world. Furthermore, the focus on both globalization and inequality helps demonstrate the real-world application of the concepts discussed. Colonialism, for instance, rather than a historical relict, becomes a force that has shaped geography and informs social justice. This thematic approach is also intended to facilitate active learning and would be suitable for a flipped or team-based learning-style course since it more easily integrates case studies and higher-order thinking than the traditional model.
Each chapter begins with a list of learning objectives. This text was written 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. The chapters are written in an accessible style, often addressing the student directly, and the author's voice has intentionally tried to remain present in the text. Following the Washington Post's gender-inclusive style guide, the singular they is intentionally used throughout the text. Rhetorical questions are also used to help students reflect on concepts and to encourage them to dig deeper and consider concepts from different perspectives.
About the Contributors
Caitlin Finlayson earned a Ph.D. in Geography from Florida State University in 2012 and a B.A. in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Winthrop University in 2007. She is a broadly trained Human Geographer specializing in Cultural Geography. Her specific research areas include the Geography of Religion, nature/societal interactions, and explorations of geographic theory and methodology. She has co-organized a session on sacred space at the Association of American Geographer’s annual meeting and her work has appeared in the journal Environment and Planning A as well as in The Professional Geographer. She is a member of the Association of American Geographers. She is an assistant professor at the University of Mary Washington and has taught a variety of courses in geography including World Regional Geography, Introduction to Human Geography, Sacred Spaces, and Environmental Studies.