Monday, January 05, 2009

Time For A New Atlas

You should update your atlas every ten years, so the smart advice says. The smarter advice says you should have one, and then update it every decade. The best advice says, “Buy the best, use it, update it.”

My book of choice has been the National Geographic Atlas of the World. As recommended, about a third of it is index because it’s not worth much if you can’t easily find what you are looking for.

My grandfather put me onto the value of a good atlas. He had (and I have it now) the best atlas of its day, published by Rand McNally. It helps to know where the countries are, what they are next to, how they have interacted over the centuries.

The countries haven’t changed, you say? They sure have. Borders change, countries come and go, names change; there can be any number of differences between what you learned in grammar school and now. There are many just between different editions.

I found that our main east-west street here in the city will (eventually) take you down the main street in Beijing, China, if you go in a straight line. The city was known as Peiping in that 1949 atlas, in case you were curious.

One of these fine days, the 8th Edition of the NatGeo Atlas will arrive in the mail and I will pass mine on to my insatiably curious brother.


Post a Comment

<< Home