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Customer Review

3.0 out of 5 stars Good effort, but far from comprehensive, Dec 2 2003
This review is from: The Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon (Hardcover)
While thorough in some areas, such as its discussion of sedimentation and flow volume river by river, this atlas of the Amazon is sorely lacking in others. Some examples: while major tributaries are named, many large ones that are minor only by Amazonian standards are never named. Despite the fact that many maps cover significant mountainous areas, including the Andes, none of the maps are colored to show altitude, which would greatly help the reader in visualizing the direction and rate of riverine flow.
Too few cities are shown on the maps, and then only on some. Cities that are mentioned as being in a map area are sometimes not shown on the relevant map at all. Other items significant to an atlas are completely omitted. Areas used for cattle ranching, rice growing, etc., are mentioned, but there are no maps that delineate them. Such areas are only shown as "deforested". Important roads, such as Pucallpa-Lima, are not labeled. Important proposed roads are referred to, but their routes are not shown. With the exception of Macchu Picchu, important archeological sites are mentioned but not shown. Contentious oil discoveries are discussed, but their locations are not shown on any maps, nor are the relevant pipelines. On page 213, protected-reserved areas are shown via three separate maps, but the areas are not combined, which would give a clearer picture of how much of the region being discussed (Rio Negro) is actually under some form of protection.
Writing tends to the repetitious. Despite the biological diversity of the Amazon basin, virtually no photos of indigenous wildlife are included. Some photos look like low-rez digital shots that have been enlarged too much. A couple are notably blurry.
A useful reference book to be sure, but far from definitive.
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