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Times Comprehensive Atlas Of The World 13th Edition Hardcover – Sep 26 2011
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'The Greatest Book on Earth' Ranulph Fiennes 'A total adventure' Jon Snow 'This is the indispensable tool for everyone who needs to know where we have come from, where we are now, and where we might be going'. Max Hastings
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The world's most prestigious and authoritative maps and atlases.
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First I'd like to express my dismay about how reviewers of the 13th edition got distracted by the mindless AGW debate. (There should be no debate: AGW is real.) This debate is so emotional it seems to cause rational judgment to take flight completely and for people to get totally side-tracked from issues relevant to the topic at hand. It's absurd that the judgment of the rating of the 13th edition would be so negatively biased. This edition is at least as good as any previous edition, and should average five stars, just as all the other editions have over the last few decades.
It's utterly pointless to debate about whether this is the best commercially available atlas. So I'm not going to rehash those ancient arguments. Rather I'll point out the differences between the 11th edition and this 13th, and let those with the 11th decide whether the differences merit the purchase of this new edition.
I compared them page by page, and to my astonishment, the choice of maps and coloration are virtually identical, page per page. There are only two differences in the maps that are actually chosen. They have thankfully restored the full plate of Alaska found in editions earlier than the 11th (there, sorely missed), at the expense of eliminating the 1:2,750,000 map of Chile central and Argentina central. For North Americans, this is a much welcome tradeoff.
Another improvement in the 13th is that the ocean maps now show color-coded elevations on the neighboring continents. The 11th editions showed monochrome continental margins on the ocean maps.
A minor improvement is the font used in the title of each page. The 11th and previous editions used too bold a font. The new uses a thinner lighter, and less distracting font, more in tune with modern typographic standards.
My main concern before receiving this edition was the decrease in price and weight over previous editions. What was sacrificed, I was wondering? The weight difference stems from slightly thinner sheets and a slightly less luxurious cover. The 11th is 1.625 inches thick and the 13th is 1.5 inches thick, a difference of a mere 1/8". The cover is less robust in the 13th. It is cardboard, whereas the the 11th is cloth. The 11th also has a dust cover and the 13th does not. The dust cover is actually somewhat of a nuisance (just one more thing you have to be careful with), but it does give it a flavor of luxury.
Most notable is that the 13th lies flatter than the 11th. In fact the 11th was characterized with having the kind of binding that does *not* lie flat. The 13th is more like versions previous to the 11th, in lying flatter.
A really welcome improvement as far as I'm concerned is the finish on the paper plates. Previous editions had a matte finish with a higher coefficient of friction than the semi-glossy, silky smooth finish of the 13th edition. I really like the finish of the new plates: they feel utterly luxurious and sensuous. So I wouldn't fret about the slight loss in weight and thickness of this 13th edition. But the new paper is just a tad less robust than previous editions. The pages are so large it is easy to impart tiny creases in the pages if you aren't careful turning them.
When I reviewed the 11th edition, I did it under standard incandescent lighting, and complained about the "busyness" of the maps, due to how "tiny" some of the fonts were, and how dense the labeling sometimes was in densely populated areas. Now it is much more widely known that full spectrum lighting vastly improves the readability of small fonts, and I've now used full spectrum lighting in my reading lamps for five years or so. I use a bright (70W) full spectrum (5900K & 96 CRI) fluorescent lamp behind my shoulder pointed down on the atlas. The difference from incandescent lighting is astonishing, and I am no longer bothered by the "business" of the Times Atlas labeling.
I now find myself with little incentive to keep my previous edition. I kept my previous edition of the 11th simply because it had that map of Alaska. It has now been restored. One less book to clutter my book shelves. I've reached the age (70) where massive downsizing is in order anyhow.
It would be nice if it had more plates with a 1:2,500,000 scale (as opposed to 1:5,000,000) in densely populated areas like the Punjab, Java, Lake Victoria area, southern Nigeria, and Southern India. It would also be nice if it had detailed relief shading like the Hammond or DK atlases. Using solely color to highlight elevation can fail to detail terrain landforms any less prominent than great mountains.
I must place these quibbles aside though, because of the atlases that I have bought which do rectify these shortcomings, they have greater shortcomings of their own which make me go back to this atlas.
Now back to the atlas the one thing that I was impressed with was the wealth of information you get before you get to the world maps each chapter you come to is well represented and incredibly infromative and tells you everything you need to know about the world you live in today it will take you a little while to read this but you will be rewarded by this.
The maps themselves are incredibly detailed to look at and the one thing I was impressed with from the start was how clear you could see each countries internal boundries no other atlas on the market that I know of show them with this kind of clarity you really get to see a true repesentation of how each country is because there are 220,000 place names the fonts are small you may need a magnifying glass to see some of them but they are easy to find most of all the major towns and cities are clear to look at with the naked eye or if you wear glasses without any trouble.
With over 220,000 place place names this is by far the biggest atlas on the market today no other publication offers this much geographical knowledge and with the care the time and dedication that the publishers put into this atlas after all it takes 4 years to produce it is well worth the money you pay for it.
At 200$ it is expensive but you can find it cheaper online you can buy a good used copy for a low as 69$ and even at 124$ for a new copy at Amazon is a 38% saving so there is no excuse for you not to buy one for me it will be the most treasured of possessions and I hope it will give me many years of pleasure and enjoyment to look at this atlas would be an asset to any home I would recommend it to anyone.
Ash Green Surrey
While generally considered superior to Nat Geo, it is not univsersally so. Topographic detail is excellent, but toponymic detail is inferior to Nat Geo's atlas (for a given scale). Also, alternative or former place names are in short supply compared to the Nat Geo. This is not important to some but worthy of mention, in my opinion. True, an atlas is not an encyclopaedia, but I don't think it hurts to include this information where space permits. If it doesn't permit, adjust the scale of the map accordingly. Also, I do not find the maps easier to read than Nat Geo's, however Nat Geo's maps are easier to read only because they lack the rich colour topographic details of The Times. You can't have it all, it seems, at least not without doubling the size of the atlas.
I should recommend this to anyone who wanted a comprehensive atlas, even if they purchased a superseded new old stock edition from Amazon.
I'm so sick of seeing detailed maps of all the sections of the United States in a World Atlas with barely a glance at S. America I could puke. I already have all the Delorme Gazateers of the States, and who cares about endless Europe maps in a world atlas, when they are so readily available everywhere. It should be BALANCED.