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Historical Atlas of Central America

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Historical Atlas of Central America
By Carolyn Hall and Héctor Pérez Brignoli. John V. Cotter; Cartographer. (University of Oklahoma Press, Norman: 2005 (paperback edition). Pg. xiv, 322. 140 Color Images, 405 Color Maps.) Paperback ISBN: 0-8061-3038-5, Hardcover ISBN: 0-8061-3037-7.

Reviewed by Sheldon Ztvordokov - January 10, 2006

The Historical Atlas of Central America is a must-have reference book for all students and scholars of Central American history. With text written by Carolyn Hall, and Héctor Pérez Brignoli, and elaborate maps drawn by the cartographer, John V. Cotter, this oversized book will grace any public or private library. In the main text, Hall, a geographer and Brignoli, an historian, provided a concise, yet comprehensive overview of the history, culture, and geography of Central America. They provide an interpretive analysis of the changes that the region has undergone in the last five centuries, and they highlight the various social, economic, and political milestones of each period. Most important, this book is generously illustrated with 140 color images and 405 color maps.

The material in this text is organized into five main sections: The first two sections are devoted to the general review of the organization, demography, culture, and history of the region over the last five centuries. The final three sections cover the economic, political, and social issues that where the hallmarks of each century from 16th century to the present. The maps, which are the backbone of this text, detail just about everything from the boundaries of the colonial territory and various routes of exploration, to geological maps and weather maps. Other types of maps that you will find this atlas include: Population, economic, political (local and national), military, navigational, transportation, and migrations maps.

The Historical Atlas of Central America is an invaluable reference tool, and an essential book for students wishing to understand the political complexity and diverse geography of this vibrant region, and how it has changed over time. The text is lavishly illustrated, and the combination of text, maps, and illustrations serves to provide the reader with an excellent overview of the history of Central America. The text is suited for both general readers, university students, and researchers.

This book is available in both hardcover and paperback editions. The paperback edition is well bound and the cover is durable, and will do well under most conditions. However, this is a large, oversized book that is a bit on the heavy side. (The paperback edition weights about 4 pounds and measures about 10" x 13" x 3/4".) Therefore, if your funding will allow, I'd recommend that you get the hardcover edition, just for the added durability that a hardcover offers, especially if this book is going to be used in a public library or other location where it will see heavy use.

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