World and Its Peoples: Middle East, Western Asia, and Northern Africa - Vol. 1

World and Its Peoples: Middle East, Western Asia, and Northern Africa - Vol. 1

World and Its Peoples: Middle East, Western Asia, and Northern Africa - Vol. 1

World and Its Peoples: Middle East, Western Asia, and Northern Africa - Vol. 1


Rapid communication, global markets, and the interdependence of national interests characterize the modern world, linking even the most distant parts of the earth. No culture or economy exists in isolation, but mutual insight and genuine understanding are often absent. World and Its Peoples provides the context for understanding the earth's diversity of places and peoples, a necessary background that goes far deeper than the superficial images disseminated on a daily basis through newspapers, magazines, movies, television, and the Internet.

Although it may be obvious that there are important differences between cultures—as well as some surprising similarities—seldom do other countries and their ways of life receive much explanation, and rarely are international events presented in a meaningful context of place and history. World and Its Peoples is a new kind of geography encyclopedia that provides such context. It describes not only the land—with its geology, climate, flora, and fauna—but also the historical and ethnic dimensions underlying the modern nations that exist today.

Regional Setting and Country Coverage

Each volume of this series of encyclopedias, which will eventually include every region and country of the world, is divided into two sections, regional setting and country coverage. Regional setting includes two parts, one focusing on geography and climate, the other on the history and movement of peoples. Each part has distinctively tinted pages. The purpose of this section is to bring to life the common histories and linguistic, ethnic, artistic, and religious heritages of neighboring peoples in the region and of people from outside the region who have intervened in regional history. The physical geography, natural features, climate, and resources that shape the daily lives of the inhabitants of each region are detailed. In addition to describing the physical and cultural characteristics of each region, the text by exploring the relationship between geography and culture, explains how particular economies, customs, and even landscapes have become what they are today.

The country coverage section in each volume looks in detail at the particular countries of the region. Each country is introduced by a comprehensive profile, set on tinted pages, that provides up-to-date facts and figures at a glance; the national flag is also depicted, and its colors and symbols are explained. Sections on government and modem history are followed by accounts of cultural expression, daily life, and economy. Each country's major cities are also described in their own sections.


No geographical reference work is useful apart from the clarity and accuracy of its maps, which visualize the detailed explanations given in the text. A large geophysical map of the region covered within each volume introduces the section on regional setting. I lere the emphasis is on the physical features influencing the entire region rather than the political details of particular countries, though the modern names of neighboring countries appear in regional maps where such information is useful for reference. Other types of regional maps show the distribution of natural habitats, levels of rainfall, locations of ethnic and linguistic groups, extent of past empires, or other subjects particularly important for understanding the background of a region.

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