Geographical problems often arise in the study of foreign affairs. What are the most useful maps and atlases? How should place names be spelled? What are the best books or articles on the geography of particular regions? The following conspectus is intended to suggest ways in which the more usual questions of this nature may be answered.

I. Bibliographical Aids


An annual published with the coöperation of geographical societies and institutions in the United States, Great Britain and other countries. It succeeds the bibliographies formerly published as supplements to the Annales de Géographie. The whole series covers the period since 1891.


Published annually since 1866.

RECENT GEOGRAPHICAL LITERATURE, MAPS, AND PHOTOGRAPHS. Supplement to The Geographical Journal Containing Additions to the Society's Collections. . . . London: Royal Geographical Society.

Published semi-annually since 1918. Prior to 1918 these lists were printed in The Geographical Journal. An alphabetical "Index to Supplements to The Geographical Journal" for the years 1918-1932 was published by the Society in 1936.

GUIDE TO REFERENCE BOOKS. BY I. G. MUDGE. 6th edit. Chicago: American Library Association, 1936, 504 p.



EINFÜHRUNG IN DIE GEOGRAPHISCHEN LITERATUR: EIN WEGWEISER FÜR ANFÄNGER. BY KURT HASSERT. Dresden: Zahn und Jaensch, 1932, 89 p. (Dresdner Geographische Studien, Heft 3.)


THE NEW WORLD: PROBLEMS IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY. BY ISAIAH BOWMAN. 4th edit. Yonkers-on-Hudson, N. Y.: World Book Co., 1928, 803 p.

"RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY." BY RICHARD HARTSHORNE. American Political Science Review, Vol. XXIX, 1935, pp. 758-804, 943-966.

In the annual and semi-annual bibliographies listed above, as well as in the bibliographies contained in the periodicals mentioned in the following section, are to be found classified references not only to books, government documents, maps and atlases, but also to most periodical articles of substantial worth.

Mudge's indispensable "Guide" deals with the whole subject of reference books; in so far as geography is concerned, it gives much information concerning atlases, gazetteers, dictionaries of place names, guidebooks, etc. Wright's volume (now somewhat out of date) contains an annotated list of the principal geographical periodicals and bibliographies, as well as data on general bibliographies and bibliographies of related sciences that may be of assistance in geographical studies. Forsaith's "Handbook" includes comprehensive lists of textbooks and other geographical publications of use not only to teachers but to the general reader as well; most of the references are to works in English. Hassert's small volume is particularly helpful as an introduction to German geographical literature: bibliographies, periodicals, dictionaries, and statistical reference books, manuals and textbooks, and general works on the regional geography of the world. It does not, however, cover maps, atlases or works on the geography of particular regions.

The last three items listed above are of particular value for the student of the geographical aspects of political affairs. The book by Langer and Armstrong deals, as the title implies, with a wider field than that of geography, but provides many references to works of geographical interest. Bowman's volume, a survey and analysis of postwar politico-geographical problems, contains comprehensive bibliographies covering periodical literature, books and maps of both the postwar and prewar periods.

The libraries of the American Geographical Society of New York, the Royal Geographical Society of London and some of the larger European geographical societies maintain systematic card catalogues, containing entries for maps, government documents, etc., and including much material not catalogued even in the larger general libraries or entered in geographical bibliographies. The American Geographical Society now issues a monthly (except July and August) list of the materials entered in its catalogue.

II. Geographical Periodicals

United States:

The Geographical Review. New York: American Geographical Society. Since 1916. Quarterly. Successor to the monthly Bulletin of the American Geographical Society covering the period 1852-1915 (certain earlier issues were known as Transactions, Proceedings, and Journal). Approximate length per volume, 740 p. An index to the Bulletin and other earlier serial publications of the Society was published in 1918, and ten-year indexes to The Geographical Review appeared in 1926 and 1936.

This review publishes original articles of scholarly quality not only by professional geographers but by authorities in related fields, both American and foreign. Each number contains critical book reviews, notes on the progress of geographical research, exploration and publication, and distinctive photographs and maps.

The National Geographic Magazine. Washington: National Geographic Society. Since 1888 Monthly. Approximate length per volume, 1600 p. Index for 1899-1936 published in 1937.

This popular magazine is notable for its fine photographs and for occasional maps of continents and other large areas.

The Journal of Geography: A Magazine for Schools. Chicago: Published by A. J. Nystrom & Co. for the National Council of Geography Teachers. Since 1897. Monthly except June, July, and August. Approximate length per volume, 380 p. Index for 1897-1921 published in 1922.

As the title implies, this journal is devoted to geographical education, particularly of secondary-school grade. It contains a few book reviews and occasional lists of books and other materials of value to teachers.

Annals of the Association of American Geographers. Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Since 1911. Quarterly. Approximate length per volume, 240 p. An index, 1911-1934, has recently been published.

This contains important technical articles by American professional geographers. There are no book reviews or current bibliographies.

Economic Geography. Worcester: Clark University. Since 1925. Quarterly. Approximate length per volume, 430 p.

Many of the articles in this periodical are by geographers and deal with particular phases of the economic geography of regions; there are also articles on broader topics and a book-review section.

Great Britain:

The Geographical Journal. London: Royal Geographical Society. Since 1893. Monthly; 2 volumes a year. Approximate length per volume, 582 p. Successor to earlier periodicals of the Royal Geographical Society covering the period 1830-1892 (Journal, Proceedings, etc.). Indexes have been published for these periodicals through 1925.

In general character The Geographical Journal is somewhat similar to The Geographical Review, containing important original articles, a record section, book reviews, maps, and photographs. Stress is laid upon the progress of exploration, particularly by British explorers.

The Scottish Geographical Magazine. Edinburgh: Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Since 1885. Bimonthly. Approximate length per volume, 440 p. Index, 1885-1934, published in 1935.

Many articles of scholarly quality; also book reviews, maps and photographs.

Geography: The Quarterly Journal of the Geographical Association. Manchester. Since 1901. Quarterly. Called The Geographical Teacher until 1927. Approximate length per volume, 340 p.

This publication is devoted primarily to geographical education, although many articles deal with other than strictly pedagogical matters. It contains maps, book reviews and book lists.


La Géographie: Terre, Air, Mer. Paris: Société de Géographie. Since 1900. Monthly. Approximate length per volume, 770 p. Successor to earlier periodical publications of the Paris Geographical Society covering the period 1822-1899 (Bulletin, Compte Rendu, etc.). Indexes have been published for the periodicals of the Society through 1899.

This journal has been popularized of late years. An extensive bibliography of current geographical literature was published in connection with La Géographie from 1919 to 1931.

Annales de Géographie. Paris: Colin. Since 1891. Bimonthly. Approximate length per volume, 672 p. Four ten-year indexes covering the period 1891-1931 have been published.

The principal repertory of scholarly articles by French professional geographers. It contains critical book reviews.


Bollettino della Reale Società Geografica Italiana. Rome. Since 1868. Monthly. Approximate length per volume, 875 p. Indexes covering 1868-1899, 1925-1934.

Although stress is laid upon Italian explorations, colonial enterprises, etc., many of the articles, notes and book reviews deal with other phases of geography, especially historical geography.

Rivista Geografica Italiana. Florence. Società di Studi Geografici e Coloniali. Since 1893. Bimonthly. Approximate length per volume, 125-250 p. Index covering volumes 1-10.

The leading Italian professional geographical periodical. Critical book reviews.


Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde zu Berlin. Since 1902. 5 or 6 (nominally 10) numbers a year. Approximate length per volume, 400 p. Successor to earlier periodicals of the Berlin Geographical Society covering the period 1839-1901 (Monatsberichte, Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Erdkunde, Verhandlungen, etc.). Indexes have been published for these publications, 1840-1901.

Reports on explorations, scientific papers, book reviews, lists of accessions to the library.

Petermanns Mitteilungen, Gotha: Perthes. Since 1855. Monthly. Approximate length per volume, 475 p. Indexes covering the period through 1934.

In addition to articles and shorter notes, each number contains comprehensive bibliographical data, book reviews, lists of new maps, and news concerning the progress of geographical research, explorations and the geographical profession (more especially in Germany). Large colored maps are an important feature. The Ergänzungshefte (supplementary numbers) zu Petermanns Mitteilungen form a series of substantial monographs, of which 228 numbers have been published at irregular intervals since 1860.

Geographische Zeitschrift. Leipzig: Teubner. Since 1895. Nominally monthly. Approximate length per volume, 480 p.

Founded by one of Germany's leading geographers, Dr. Alfred Hettner, and edited by him through 1934, when the editorship was assumed by Dr. Heinrich Schmitthenner. Scholarly articles, critical book reviews, lists of new maps, books, and articles in periodicals.

Zeitschrift für Geopolitik. Heidelberg: Vowinckel. Since 1924. Monthly. Approximate length per volume, 870 p.

Dr. Karl Haushofer is editor of this journal. His definition of "geopolitics" may be rendered: "the science of political forms of life in their regional relationships, both as affected by natural conditions and in terms of their historical development." In addition to articles, this journal contains a record of events of "geopolitical" interest in different parts of the world, book reviews, book lists, and also diagrammatic maps, but few other illustrations.

Zeitschrift für Erdkunde. Frankfurt-am-Main: Diesterweg. Since 1933. Formerly Geographische Wochenschrift. Now semi-monthly. Approximate length per volume, 1150 p.

This is the most recent among the outstanding scientific geographical periodicals, the only one published at shorter intervals than one month. It is well illustrated, and contains serious articles, book reviews and lists of current periodical articles.

The foregoing list is of course far from complete. There are at the present time about 100 geographical periodicals of "universal scope" -- in other words, periodicals that aim to deal with all parts of the world and all phases of geography. In addition, there are many periodicals devoted primarily to the geography of particular regions or to special phases of geography. The periodicals chosen for listing here are arranged, by countries, according to the date of the establishment of each periodical or the first of its direct predecessors. The data given concerning frequency of issue, length, illustrations, etc., apply to recent volumes. All of the periodicals listed contain illustrations and nearly all of them have book reviews: these are mentioned, therefore, only if they are distinctive. Where reference is made to indexes, cumulative indexes covering more than one year are meant.

As in other fields, it is primarily to the current issues of periodicals that one must look for the latest original contributions to geography and for critical book reviews. The back numbers, moreover, are of more than academic or historical interest. Often they contain detailed information that never finds its way into reference books and atlases.

Geographical periodicals are of several different kinds, with no very sharp lines between them. The oldest ones, such as The Geographical Review, The Geographical Journal, the Bollettino della Reale Società Geografica Italiana, and the Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Erdkunde zu Berlin, are published by the great geographical societies of the world. The varied membership of these societies, including explorers, statesmen, colonial administrators and other men of affairs, as well as professional geographers and students in related fields, has resulted in giving the periodicals which they sponsor a relatively large number of papers dealing with non-academic aspects of geography: narratives of exploring expeditions, semi-popular lectures and travelogues. In the case of the periodicals just listed, and also in Petermanns Mitteilungen, high scientific standards have been maintained, even though their editors have not catered exclusively to trained geographers.

As more and more attention has been devoted to geography in the universities during the last fifty years, another type of geographical periodical has come into being, the strictly professional journal. Among those in this class are the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, the Annales de Géographie, the Rivista Geografica Italiana, the Geographische Zeitschrift and the Zeitschrift für Erdkunde. But, it must not be thought that because these are primarily for the professional, they are too technical to be of value to the layman. While this may be true of some parts dealing with physiography, climatology, soils, mathematical geography, etc., many of the papers on human and regional geography can be understood and read with profit by any educated person.

III. Maps

Maps and charts are the eyes of armies and navies. In most countries, then, the principal organizations that carry on surveying and mapping form parts of the military establishments. The United States is one of the few nations whose basic topographical maps are not produced in this manner.

In a book entitled "The Recollections of a Geographer" (London: Seeley, 1935, 223 p.), E. A. Reeves, for many years Map Curator of the Royal Geographical Society in London, includes two interesting maps of the world. One shows the territories covered in 1878 by accurate maps, "fairly reliable maps," and rough maps, as also the remaining unexplored areas. The other shows the situation in 1933. In the latter year the territories of the two first types comprised almost the whole of Europe, much of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada, large tracts in India, Japan and South Africa, the more densely populated parts of Egypt, Palestine and Syria, and scattered patches elsewhere, more especially in Chile, the Argentine, the coastal margins of Brazil, central and western United States, the East Indies, French Indo-China, Madagascar and Australasia. Within these territories extensive areas have been mapped by government surveys to scales of about an inch to the mile or larger. The fundamental topographical maps are issued in quadrangles or "sheets," and the various surveys that publish them have prepared catalogues and index maps that may be consulted in the larger map collections.

Nevertheless, there are few collections of the official topographical maps of all nations which even approach completeness. To maintain such a collection would be almost impossible and would require an immense amount of space. The British Ordnance Survey has probably issued more than 65,000 separate maps, among them some 51,000 reproduced to the scale of 25 inches to the mile! Important collections in the United States are those of the Geographic Branch of the Military Intelligence Division of the War Department (housed in the Army War College, Washington), the Library of Congress and the American Geographical Society of New York. Some of the larger university libraries also have useful working collections.

A far-reaching plan for the production of a great sectional compiled map of the world on the scale of 1:1,000,000 (about 16 miles to the inch) was first suggested by Professor Albrecht Penck in 1891. Since then, largely as a result of international coöperation among the official surveys of many countries, an immense area has been mapped. The territories covered by the sheets of the International Millionth Map include most of those for which large-scale topographical maps are available, and also extensive tracts in northern and eastern Africa and southwestern Asia and nearly the whole of the Americas south of the United States. Only about one-fiftieth of the area of the United States itself, however, has been mapped in the Millionth series.[i] The 105 sheets of the Millionth Map for the Americas south of the United States, including the West Indies, are being compiled and published by the American Geographical Society. This great undertaking, which has been in progress during the last sixteen years, is now nearly completed.

IV. Atlases

General Atlases

Large, comprehensive, and relatively expensive general atlases:

STIELER: GRAND ATLAS DE GÉOGRAPHIE MODERNE. 10th edit., édition internationale. Gotha: Perthes, 1934 ff. (appearing in installments).


ANDREES ALLGEMEINER HANDATLAS. 8th edit. Bielefeld and Leipzig: Velhagen und Klasing, 1922, revised to 1936.


THE TIMES SURVEY ATLAS OF THE WORLD. London: The Times, 1922 (out of print).

RAND McNALLY COMMERCIAL ATLAS. Chicago: Rand McNally, published annually.

THE NEW WORLD LOOSE LEAF ATLAS. New York: Hammond, kept up-to-date.

GREAT SOVIET WORLD ATLAS. Vol. 1, Part 1, WORLD MAPS; Part 2, MAPS OF THE U.S.S.R. (In Russian). Moscow, Scientific Editorial Institute of the Great Soviet World Atlas, 1937.

Vols. 2 and 3, dealing with parts of the Soviet Union and with foreign countries respectively, will soon be forthcoming.

Smaller and less expensive general atlases:


MEYERS GEOGRAPHISCHER HANDATLAS. Leipzig: Bibliographisches Institut, 1933.


THE OXFORD ADVANCED ATLAS. 5th edit. London: Oxford University Press, 1936 (also published under the title "The Oxford Physical Atlas"). Contains a relatively large number of special maps.


GOODE'S SCHOOL ATLAS. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1934.

Special Atlases

Physical Geography:

BERGHAUS' PHYSIKALISCHER ATLAS. 3rd edit. Gotha: Perthes, 1892.

A fundamental work in its day and still useful; covers geology, oceanography, meteorology, terrestrial magnetism, the geography of plants and animals, and ethnography.

BARTHOLOMEW'S PHYSICAL ATLAS. Vol. III: Atlas of Meteorology. London: Constable, 1899, 1911; Vol. V: Atlas of Zoögeography, Edinburgh, Bartholomew, 1911.

Economic Geography:

THE CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE ATLAS. London: Philip, 1925. (Also published in an American edition under title "Putnam's Economic Atlas." New York: Putnam.) Communications, commodities of commerce, commercial development of the principal countries.

WELTLAGERSTÄTTENKARTE. Map of the Mineral Deposits of the World. Berlin: Reimer-Vohsen, 1927.

A map in 8 sheets, 1:15,000,000, accompanied by a volume of statistics.

Historical Geography:

ALLGEMEINER HISTORISCHER HANDATLAS. BY G. DROYSEN. Bielefeld and Leipzig: Velhagen und Klasing, 1886.

HISTORICAL ATLAS. BY W. R. SHEPHERD. 7th edit. New York: Holt, 1929.


DIE SPRACHENFAMILIEN UND SPRACHENKREISE DER ERDE. BY W. SCHMIDT. Heidelberg: Winter, 1926 (volume of text with atlas).




Section III dealt with "loose" maps. "Bottled maps," or atlases, may be variously classified.[ii] The territory they cover may range from the whole world down to an individual county or town, and the topics they illustrate may be equally diverse. In the category labelled above as "General Atlases" the maps are mainly of the familiar locational type, showing coast lines, rivers, towns, villages, relief, railways, roads, political divisions and geographical names. The "Special Atlases" are devoted to such subjects as geology, climate, plant or animal geography, agriculture, mineral resources, history, demography, languages, commerce, political geography, etc. In recent years a tendency has been evident to include many more "special" maps in the general world atlases than formerly, and also to produce excellent national and regional atlases containing new and original examples of special maps.

It is impossible to say which of the great world atlases is the "best." There are a number of criteria for judging an atlas -- accuracy, clarity, scope and balance being the essential points. The writer has roughly calculated the relative amounts of map space given to different kinds of maps in several well-known world atlases. In "Stieler" about 99 percent of the space is occupied by locational maps. "One does not turn to Stieler for miscellaneous maps illustrating physical geography, population, natural resources, historical events, etc.; but if one wishes to locate even a small village in almost any part of the world, the chances are good that it may be discovered on one of Stieler's accurate, up-to-date and marvelously detailed plates. . . . The map space devoted to different parts of the world is roughly proportionate to population density and 'geographical importance.'"[iii] The magnificent "Atlante Internazionale del Touring Club Italiano" resembles Stieler in its balance and emphasis on locational maps; the plates, however, are larger and less crowded. "Andree" combines clear and elegant locational maps with a well-selected group of special maps of the world, of Europe and of central Europe. The "Atlas Général Vidal-Lablache" has 74 percent "special maps;" 34 percent are historical maps. In two of the more elaborate recent American atlases, Rand McNally's "Commercial Atlas" and Hammond's "Loose Leaf Atlas," 84 and 42 percent respectively of the map space is filled by maps of the United States. The larger British atlases give relatively less space to the British Empire than the American atlases give to the United States; they tend to devote more attention to North America than do the continental atlases. The "Times Survey Atlas" is distinguished for clarity and the use of graded tints of color to show elevations. The "Great Soviet World Atlas" is one of the most comprehensive atlases ever published and contains an immense quantity of new material in the form of special maps. No translation is as yet available.

Of the six smaller general atlases listed, the first three are of particular use for general reference and the last three for teaching purposes.

V. Gazetteers and Geographical Dictionaries


LEXIKON DER GEOGRAPHIE. BY EWALD BANSE. Brunswick and Hamburg: Westermann, 1923, 2 v.

LIPPINCOTT'S NEW GAZETTEER. Philadelphia, 1906 (reprinted in 1922), 2105 p.

LONGMANS' GAZETTEER OF THE WORLD. London: Longmans, 1902 (subsequently reprinted), 1174 p.

It is not always easy to track down a specific item of geographical information. Unfortunately, there is no great universal compendium or encyclopedia of modern geography to put the searcher on the right track. Banse's "Lexikon" aims to deal with the entire field of geography, both systematic and regional, and includes lives of geographers and explorers; it is, however, a work of no great magnitude, and much information of importance is necessarily omitted. The world gazetteers of Lippincott (which emphasizes the United States) and Longmans (which stresses more especially the British Empire and English-speaking countries) furnish meager details about many places and are both out of date. Vivien de St. Martin's great "Nouveau Dictionnaire," in which there are more than half as many words as in the last edition of the "Encyclopaedia Britannica," provides a wealth of information but is also too old always to be of practical service. For certain countries there are comprehensive geographical dictionaries and encyclopedias. Nor should the general encyclopedias be overlooked, among them the "Enciclopedia Italiana di Scienze, Lettere, ed Arti," in which a special feature is being made of geography and to which some of Italy's leading geographers are contributing.

VI. The Spelling of Geographical Names

How to spell geographical names is -- within limits -- a matter of taste. A recent textbook writer is so bound by a system that he writes "Athēnai," "Roma," "Warszawa," etc., in a book for American college students. Colonel Lawrence of Arabia went to the opposite extreme: "I spell my names anyhow, to show what rot the systems are." A genius may be allowed to set such a refreshing if dangerous precedent; but for those who are not geniuses certain sensible guides have been prepared in the form of lists of approved spellings. The two most authoritative sets of lists are those published by the United States Geographic Board (also containing some general recommendations in regard to the spelling of names not in the list), and those published from time to time by the Royal Geographical Society, of London, for the Permanent Committee on Geographical Names for British Official Use. Of course, they contain only a small fraction of the millions of names of geographical features scattered over the earth's surface.

Difficulties arise in countries where the Latin alphabet is not used. These may ordinarily be obviated by following one of the schemes of transliteration for which Lawrence expressed contempt. The Library of Congress and the American Library Association have published rules for transliteration. A useful volume in this connection is "Alphabets of Foreign Languages," by Lord Edward Gleichen and J. H. Reynolds (London: Royal Geographical Society, 1933, 76 p.).

VII. Regional Geographies

Single works dealing with the regions of the world as a whole:

NOUVELLE GÉOGRAPHIE UNIVERSELLE. BY ELISÉE RECLUS. Paris: Hachette, 1876-1894, 19 v. (English translation, edited by E. G. Ravenstein and A. H. Keane, New York: Appleton, 1882-1895).

This is probably the most ambitious attempt ever made by a single writer to encompass the entire subject of regional geography; a tour deforce in its day, it is now superseded by works based on more rigorous critical methods.


Notable for the clear and ingenious manner in which natural regions are correlated with political subdivisions; it is carefully thought through, systematic and well-balanced.

A NEW REGIONAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE WORLD. BY M. I. NEWBIGIN. London: Christophers; New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1929, 432 p.

"An effort . . . within definite limits of space to survey the world in such a fashion as to bring out the aims and methods of the modern geographer."

DAS ERDBILD DER GEGENWART. BY WALTER GERBING. Leipzig: List und von Bressendorf, 1926-1927, 2 v.


Series of regional geographies:[iv]

STANFORD'S COMPENDIUM OF GEOGRAPHY AND TRAVEL. London: Stanford, 1893-1904, with later editions or reprints. 2 volumes on each continent.

REGIONS OF THE WORLD. EDITED BY H. J. MACKINDER. New York: Appleton, 1902-1905.

Volumes on Britain and the British Seas, Central Europe, India, the Nearer East, the Far East, North America.


Recent volumes on North America, South America, Africa, the Polar Regions, Asia, France, Southern Europe, the Baltic Region.

GÉOGRAPHIE UNIVERSELLE. Published under the direction of P. VIDAL DE LA BLACHE AND L. GALLOIS. Paris: Colin, 1927 ff.

To be completed in 15 "tomes," some of which consist of two parts bound separately. The following regions have been covered: British Isles; Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg; the Scandinavian region; the Arctic; the Antarctic; central Europe; southern Europe; Mediterranean Europe; Russia and the Baltic states; southeastern Asia; central Asia; "monsoon Asia;" North America (Canada and the United States); Mexico and Central America; South America; northern and eastern Africa. Other volumes on Africa and France have not yet appeared.

ENZYKLOPÄDIE DER ERDKUNDE. EDITED BY O. KENDE. Leipzig and Vienna: Deuticke, 1923 ff.

Not an encyclopedia in the ordinary sense of the term but a collection of scientific studies. Volumes cover Europe as a whole, the British Islands, central Europe, northern Europe, the polar regions, the Baltic region, Belgium and Netherlands, North America, and Central America with the West Indies.

ALLEGEMEINE LÄNDERKUNDE. Leipzig: Bibliographisches Institut.

This was originated by Wilhelm Sievers in 1891. Certain parts of the series have been published in 4 editions.


Appearing in more than 150 sections. It will include 10 regional volumes, of which 4 will be devoted to Europe and 6 to other parts of the world. The text is by many contributors, with striking illustrations in color.


Volumes have appeared to date on North America, Africa, Australia, and Oceania; these deal with each area as a whole and not in terms of the regions into which it may be subdivided. The series is conceived as completing the late Hermann Wagner's classic "Lehrbuch der Geographie."

Few of the great political and economic problems confronting the nations of the world are without their geographical aspects. An understanding of the geographical setting would therefore be of much use to those who try to solve them. Everyone knows that the geography of regions is described in a multitude of textbooks for children and college students; but many otherwise well-educated and even learned persons seem oblivious of the fact that regional geographies exist for mature readers.

In most of the nations of continental Europe geography is a more important field of research than it is in Great Britain and the United States. Individual English-speaking geographers have of course produced work of first-rate quality; but the output of such work has been greater on the Continent. In their geographical writings the Germans display the thoroughness, the attention to detail, and the love of abstruse speculation characteristic of their scholarship in other fields. Some Americans find French geographical publications more congenial. To many of us French is an easier language, and the French geographers write lucidly with a keen feeling for balance and the gift of pointed, picturesque style.

Regional geography is not wholly the description of observed "facts." It is not a mere matter of encyclopedic compilation and classification. It involves the correlation of many facts having to do with nature and with man and with the interpretation of their relationships. No more than the historian can the geographer wholly rid his work of the subjective element, and however impartial he may strive to be in dealing with controversial subjects -- especially concerning regions where national aspirations conflict -- bias is likely to appear. A regional geography is something like a history, in that it reflects the intellectual, social, economic and political climates of the age and country in which the author lives.

In the French universities geography has been more closely allied to historical studies than to geology and the natural sciences. A generation and more ago French geographers occupied themselves largely with antiquarian and historical matters -- the history of explorations, old maps, etc. But a change has come about, and today the French stand preëminent as masters of the art of regional exposition. While their books show the life, color and authenticity derived from field work, they have not made the mistake of thinking that field studies give the sole key to geographical truth or of attempting to imitate techniques more appropriate to the physical and biological sciences. Their work remains strongly influenced by the historical attitude, not only in the attention given to history itself as serving in part to explain the present, but in the critical method of evaluating and synthesizing source materials, whether these be derived from the examination of documents in libraries and archives or from observations made under the open sky.

The contemporary French school of regional geography owes an immense debt to a great teacher, the late Paul Vidal de la Blache (1845-1918). One of the chief products of Vidal's inspiration is the monumental coöperative work "Géographie Universelle," now nearing completion. Most of the studies in this series have been written by former pupils of Vidal who now occupy important chairs in the French universities. In each study a relatively large part of the earth's surface is discussed, usually an area comprising more than one nation. Throughout the series a consistent scheme of treatment has been followed, though by no means slavishly. The volumes deal with the whole range of geographical elements and forces in the regions considered -- physiographic, climatic, biological, demographic, economic, social and political. The interrelationships of these elements are skillfully brought out, without overemphasis on theories of environmental determinism. What is more, the editors and publishers of the "Géographie Universelle" have remembered that maps are the geographer's most distinctive tools, and the volumes are abundantly illustrated with clear and carefully selected maps and photographs.

In the English language there is no great modern series of regional geographies like either the "Géographie Universelle" or the larger German series. "Methuen's Advanced Geographies" and "Harrap's New Geographical Series" are of value for a general orientation. "Stanford's Compendium of Geography and Travel," though now somewhat old-fashioned in method, conception, and arrangement, is still a serviceable work of reference. The "Regions of the World" series includes several books regarded by many as geographical classics, but these are on a less monumental scale then the continental geographies and are prewar. The "Research Series" and "Special Publications" of the American Geographical Society constitute a collection of geographical monographs and studies of high grade, dealing with a wide range of topics; but most of them are not regional geographies in the sense of the term that we have been considering.

There are many indications, however, that geography is acquiring greater vitality and sounder scientific foundations in the British Empire and the United States. Attention is being directed ever more intensively upon the methods and objectives of regional research -- or chorography, as some like to call it. The time seems to be approaching when English-speaking geographers will no longer lag behind their Continental colleagues in the fine art of regional exposition.

Correlatively, the geographer is increasingly better able to participate in the study of political and economic problems. As examples, we may in closing note the recently published "Geographic Aspects of International Relations," Charles C. Colby, editor, University of Chicago Press, 1938; and an important volume entitled "Limits of Land Settlement: A Report on Present-day Possibilities," prepared under the direction of Isaiah Bowman and published in 1937 by the Council on Foreign Relations, New York.

[i] The published sheets include most of New York state, parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, southern New England, the vicinity of San Francisco, Texas, Montana, and North Dakota.

[ii] For bibliographical data see Mudge, op cit.; P. L. Phillips, "A List of Geographical Atlases in the Library of Congress," 4 vols., Washington, 1909-1920; W. L. G. Joerg, "Post-War Atlases," Geographical Review, Vol. XIII, 1923, pp. 583-598. For critical reviews of certain recent distinctive atlases see Geographical Review, Vol. XXVII, 1937, pp. 161-163, and also items indexed under heading "Atlases" in the two ten-year indexes to the Geographical Review published in 1926 and 1936.

[iii] Geographical Review, Vol. XXVII, 1937, p. 161.

[iv] Space does not permit the listing of the titles of individual books; the scope of the several series in so far as they contain regional studies is indicated.

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