Geography Basics covers the most fundamental concepts of both physical and social geography. In order to further the geographic literacy of contemporary students, the articles in Geography Basics take an integrated approach to the field, emphasizing interconnections of every kind.
Through much of the twentieth century, geography courses forced students to memorize names of states, capitals, rivers, seas, mountains, and countries. While the field underwent a remarkable transformation during the 1990's, young American adults remain ignorant of the simple facts about geography. Even though learning the locations of places remains an important part of geography studies, educators recognize that place-name recognition is merely the beginning of geographic understanding. Geography teaching now places much greater emphasis on understanding the characteristics of, and interconnections among, places. Modern students address such questions as how the weather in Brazil can affect the price of coffee in the United States, why global warming threatens island nations, how preserving endangered animal species can conflict with the economic development of poor nations.
Organization and Format
Volume 1 addresses the question of what the study of geography is and then explores five basic fields: physical geography, biogeography and natural resources, human geography, economic geography, and political geography. The bulk of Volume 2 is a glossary containing about 1,600 definitions of basic geography terms (from "aa" to "zoning") and appendixes including a comprehensive annotated bibliography, a summary of global geographical data, and rankings of the world's physical properties.
Included are a comprehensive annotated bibliography and appendixes summarizing global geographical data. The work is illustrated with photographs, maps, line drawings, charts, and tables.
All the essays in Geography Basics are taken from the first volume of Salem's World Geography (2001), and its glossary and appendices are taken from the eighth volume of the same set. These are the materials that address the broadest aspects of geography: What the field is all about, how it is organized, what issues it addresses. Geography Basics thus answers the kinds of questions that are, in fact, most basic to the field.