6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An excellent illustrated guide to our planet,
This review is from: The Encyclopedia of Earth: A Complete Visual Guide (Hardcover)
Presented in a similar style to the same publisher's The Encyclopedia of Animals: A Complete Visual Guide that I reviewed some time ago, this book focuses on the planet itself rather than the life to be found on it, although it does not avoid life entirely. The book is divided into six sections, these being birth (the origin and a brief history and description of the universe and our solar system, together with a chapter on the emergence of life), fire (including the Earth`s core, volcanoes, thermal springs, earthquakes and tsunamis), land (see next paragraph), air (the atmosphere, wind, climate and weather), water (oceans, seas, rivers, waterfalls, wetlands, swamps, lakes and the marine environment but not glaciers, which are covered in a different section) and humans (looking at how people have used and sometimes abused the planet and what the future might bring).
The section on land is, understandably, the biggest. It covers rocks, minerals, soils, landforms and biomes. While the first three subsections describe the ingredients, the subsection on landforms describes the form they take and how they change. It is interesting to note that glaciers are included here rather than in the section on water. More predictably, the subsection on landforms explains weathering, erosion, rock falls, landslides, canyons, river deltas, mountains, valleys, plains, plateaux, coasts and caves. The subsection on biomes explains tundra, forests, deserts and other types of land environment.
The book is well illustrated with plenty of photographs and diagrams as well as many interesting facts and opinions. There was a time when a book of this type might have stuck to the facts alone (or at least to the best educated guess about the past based on known information), but the final section dealing with people inevitably strays beyond fact into opinion, especially when predicting the future. Regardless of whether you share these opinions or not, there is plenty of good factual information in this book to make it worth having on your bookshelf.