When National Geographic published its first Atlas of the World more than 35 years ago, the world was indeed a different place. In order to cover today's world--including its oceans, stars, climate, natural resources, and more--National Geographic has published its seventh edition of the Atlas of the World. With each new edition, National Geographic strives to make its atlas more than just maps. You'll learn that the coldest place in the world is the Plateau Station in Antarctica, where the average daily temperature is minus 56.7 degrees Celsius; the most populated continent is Asia, with more than 3.6 billion people, or 60.8 percent of the world's population; the driest place on earth is the Atacama Desert in Chile; a flight from New Delhi to Rio de Janeiro covers 14,080 kilometers; life expectancy in the Republic of Zambia is 37 years; and the literacy rate in Turkmenistan is 98 percent. Flip through the pages of this impressive book and you will feel as though the world is literally at your fingertips. Full-page spreads are devoted to more than 75 political and physical maps (political maps show borders; physical maps show mountains, water, valleys, and vegetation). There are many new touches to be found in this edition, including increased usage of satellite images, an especially helpful feature when researching the most remote regions of the earth; more than 50 updated political maps that record the impact of wars, revolutions, treaties, elections, and other events; and the use of the latest research on topics such as tectonics, oceanography, climate, and natural resources. The sheer size of the atlas's index--134 pages--offers insight into just how much information is packed into 260-plus pages. The book is so physically large, in fact, that when it's open, the reader is staring at three square feet of information, a surface area larger than many television screens. The potential uses of this book for a family are vast, from settling a friendly argument to completing a school report. In the end, though, the atlas is still mostly about maps. Pages and pages of maps. Maps that force us to see how wonderful and dynamic our world is. Maps that remind us of where we've been and where we'd still like to go. --John Russell
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