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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-5 of 5 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on October 11, 2003
This would be a wonderful book if National Geographic had spent a little bit more money on the color reproduction. If I was a photographer whose work was included here I'd be really disappointed at the muddy print job.
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"Though your beginning was small,
Yet your latter end would increase abundantly." -- Job 8:7

Before starting my review, let me note that at the time I wrote this review Amazon had mixed up reviews for the larger size hardcover book available at $30 with the smaller size hardcover book available at $16.95. I am reviewing the smaller format book that came out in September 2009 (6.6 inches by 6.1 inches by 1.5 inches). Unless you don't care what size your photographs are, I recommend you spend the extra money and get the larger size version that came out in October 2003 (10.7 inches by 10.1 inches by 1.8 inches). I think in the larger page size the book is a five-star resource for any photography lover. If you are a National Geographic subscriber or admirer, why wouldn't you want to own that book?

Like many books of photographs, many of these reproductions will appeal to you more than others. I happen to like nature shots that provide me with a new perspective on life against a backdrop of stunning beauty. Obviously, National Geographic could have filled many volumes with just such images. A boy diving backward off a water buffalo into a muddy river filled with water buffalo perfectly captures the sort of thing I mean (James P. Blair, 1993, in Bangladesh), as does a meerkat keeping watch (Mattias Klum, 2002).

There are also some marvelous wilderness shots that take the civilization out of you in meditative ways (Maria Stenzel, 1996, islands on the Fond du Lac River; Steve Winter, 2001, jaguar in Belize; and Jim Brandenburg, 1987, arctic wolf)

More typically, these images are about people. I particularly liked the ones that put nature's scale against human accomplishment (Hiram Bingham, 1912, portraying Machu Picchu; Gordon Wilstie, 1994, mountaineers in Chile; Michael S. Yamashita, 2003, the Great Wall of China).

Much of the book is social commentary. Depending on your point of view, you'll be amused, outraged, or left musing.

For my taste the book could have included a lot more space and ocean images.

Inevitably, there are images of bare-breasted women from lesser-developed countries, views of whom have provided such controversy over the years about National Geographic. I could have done without those.
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on December 24, 2003
I'll give 3 stars to this book for the hidden gems in it, and for the expansive collection of photographs. However, National Geographic seems to have chosen quantity over quanlity. I was genuinely surprised at the lack of pictures even worth being denoted 'good'. Some of them looked like the sort of thing the average person takes on a short vacation.
Most photos in it are across both pages, and the large size makes almost every picture look grainy. It also makes the book seem like there are more pictures than there really are. The truly wonderful photos are pretty much all ones we've seen printed elsewhere, multiple times, like a humpback whale with seabirds about it by Flip Nicklin. I've even seen that one used in advertisements.
Don't waste your money or time buying this book; there are others of much better quality and lower pricing. In short they are NOT the "Greatest" photographs.
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on October 7, 2015
The book size is too small for pictures.
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on August 5, 2016
Should have checked the dimensions
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