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Author Topic: Book Recommendation Needed- History/Geography Related
Lanfear
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So I'm taking a Geography class in college and it's kicking my trash. I never grew up looking at maps or caring about history, and that's a big problem when it comes to this class.


I just don't have the foundation I need to understand what's going on as we study regions. Obviously I've spent extra time with the text.

I'm looking for some kind of supplemental reading, to help me be more familiar with the history of the world and it's geography.

Obviously that is a huge topic. I'm just curious if anyone had any suggestions

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Lyrhawn
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Anything in particular? What's the scope of the class?
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plaid
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Guns Germs and Steel!
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rivka
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Semi-serious suggestion: watch old episodes of Where in The World (and Where in Time) Is Carmen Sandiego? Unfortunately, that seems to be easier to suggest than to actually do -- I can't find complete episodes for purchase or download.

Actually, the original Broderbund games would be better, but that's really impossible.

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kmbboots
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This may be a stupid question, but do you have an atlas? There are some great atlases by DK publishing that are clear and easy to read. Some are for children, but even those have some great information and good maps. And might be cheaper.

http://us.dk.com/nf/Search/QuickSearchProc/1,,atlas,00.html?id=atlas

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Elmer's Glue
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Most of my geography comes from playing Risk.
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Teshi
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Although I'm not a huge fan of the book, plaid's suggestion is actually a good one, although it might not give you quite the right background that you need. Nevertheless, I think it's worth checking a copy out the library and seeing if it does fit the bill.

Or, there's wikipedia. There's The History of the World for your human history, The History of Earth for your more geological/geographical/natural history. I can't think of a more comprehensive source for factual history which at the same time allows you to go into detail precisely when you need to.

The suggestion for having a good atlas and globe at hand is a good one. If you're unfamiliar with the regions being discussed in books, articles or your class, being able to put your finger on them physically will be pretty helpful.

Watching any historical or natural history non-fiction tv show will help you, although some are better quality than others. The BBC is almost always excellent.

A side note: I'm not sure how much you know, but I find it astonishing that you have reached a crisis point like this with regards to history and geography (but then I'm a history major). I believe there is a discussion on the forum about the importance or non-importance of taking classes outside your field. If there ever was a convincing argument, I think we found it.

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Lanfear
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The scope of the class is just a general geography. We're going over regions and learning about the people and the climate and whatnot.

It kind of seems like the class I'm in should be the kind of overview I need. Thank you for the suggestions. My ignorance is frustrating to say the least. I do have an atlas and the course text.

It's not so much a crisis point I think, but more of my own personal crisis. If I studied the stuff I needed to, I think I could ace all the tests and pass the class, but I don't feel like that is really the purpose. Its kind of opened my eyes to how little I know about the world.

I think I'm going to start reading more of the world section in the newspaper as well. Should help a fair bit.

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plaid
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I haven't seen it, but National Geographic did a documentary based on Guns, Germs, and Steel, that's worth checking out...
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The Rabbit
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You might enjoy reading some of James Micheners novels. He has several which that explore the geography, history and culture of different regions.

His books are fiction but set in a mostly accurate historical context. Make sure you read the disclaimers in the beginning that identify which parts are history and which are fiction.

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Darth_Mauve
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There was a very good comic book called "History of the world". I forget who made it. Its a very good and quick tour of the world and of history.
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fugu13
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I think you might be thinking about the Cartoon History of the Universe.

That would be a good resource, actually. It covers everything up to the modern world in two fairly large volumes, then has a slightly smaller volume covering the modern world.

I'd start with Part One, then get Part Two when you finish that. It is well worth the investment, and you'll find yourself re-reading it.

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Lanfear
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Well I bought Guns germs and Steel. I'll let you guys know how it goes. The cartoon history of the universe is actually quite tempting as well. I'll see if this one helps out.

Thanks guys!

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Kwea
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I love that book, although I don't completely agree with all of his conclusions. I also really enjoyed the documentary about it, and found it was more accessible to most people.
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