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All Possible Worlds

A History of Geographical Ideas

Fourth Edition

Geoffrey J. Martin

Publication Date - 27 January 2005

ISBN: 9780195168709

624 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

The most complete and comprehensive book of its kind


Updated and revised to include theoretical and other developments, bibliographical additions, new photographs and illustrations, and expanded name and subject indexes, the fourth edition of All Possible Worlds: A History of Geographical Ideas is the most complete and comprehensive book of its kind. The text also features a layout and readability that make the material easy to navigate and understand.

The book investigates the ways in which the subject of geography has been recognized, perceived, and evaluated, from its early acknowledgment in ancient Greece to its disciplined form in today's world of shared ideas and mass communication. Strong continuities knit the Classical Period to the Age of Exploration, then carry students on through Varenius to Humboldt and Ritter--revealing the emergence of "the new geography" of the Modern Period.

The history of American geography--developed in seven of the twenty chapters--is strongly emphasized pursuant to the formal origins of geography in late nineteenth-century Germany, Darwin's theory of evolution, and the Great Surveys of the American West. This treatment is enhanced by chapters concerning parallel histories of geography in Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia (including the USSR and CIS), Canada, Sweden, and Japan-countries that at first contributed to and later borrowed from the body of US geographical thought.

All Possible Worlds: A History of Geographical Ideas, Fourth Edition, is ideal for upper-level undergraduate or graduate courses in the history and philosophy of classical, medieval, and modern geographical thought.

Previous Publication Date(s)

January 1993


"This latest edition is a colossal achievement!"--Ronald Reece, Seattle Pacific University, for The Professional Geographer, vol. 58, no.1, February 2006

"Since its first appearance in 1972, All Possible Worlds has become an indispensable reference text for courses in the history of geography. Offering a broad historical sweep of the scholarly record from classical, medieval, and modern times, it also affords succinct summary accounts of twentieth-century geography and geographers in North America and in a wide range of countries. This new edition, carefully revised and updated by Geoffrey Martin, with its ample illustrations and expanded index, promises a welcome maintenance of this highly laudable contribution to cross-cultural understanding in the practice of geography internationally."--Anne Buttimer, President of the International Geographical Union, 2000-2004

"What a pleasure! All Possible Worlds is back. Geoffrey Martin's work is a wonderful 'tour de force'--a clear panorama of the evolution of geography from Greece to the present with a fair view on its emerging trends both in the English-speaking world and elsewhere."--Paul Claval, University of Paris, Sorbonne

"This book--a study in the history of geographical thought--sweeps majestically from the ancient Greeks to the present. It has been published in four languages other then English and has been the most comprehensive work on the subject since its inception in 1972 when I first used it as the text in my 'Nature of Geography' course. This is essential reading for all geographers."--Peter Nash, University of Waterloo, Canada

"After thirty-odd years, All Possible Worlds remains without peer: a uniquely valuable treasure for anyone curious about the evolution of geographic thought and achievement throughout the world from ancient times to a troubled present. Perhaps what is most remarkable about this chronicle is the judicious manner with which the author deals with endlessly contentious philosophies and methodologies. We have here an essential item for the library of every serious geographer."--Wilbur Zelinsky, The Pennsylvania State University

"This is the only book in the English language (and perhaps any language) to reveal much of the history of geography from Greco-Roman to modern times. It includes chapters on classical geography, the Middle Ages, the Age of Exploration, the impact of discoveries, and a summary of mid-19th century thought. The history of geography in the US is juxtaposed with the emerging geographies of Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia/USSR, Canada, Sweden, and Japan from the time of Darwin's elaboration of his evolutionary hypothesis. . . .indispensable reading for geographers and other social scientists. Summing Up: Highly Recommended."--M.W. Dow, Choice, September 2005

Table of Contents

    1. A Field of Study Called Geography
    Part One: Classical
    2. The Beginnings of Classical Geography
    3. Geography in the Middle Ages
    4. The Age of Exploration
    5. The Impact of Discoveries
    6. An End and a Beginning: Alexander von Humboldt and Carl Ritter
    Part Two: Modern
    7. What Was New
    8. The New Geography in Germany
    9. The New Geography in France
    10. The New Geography in Great Britain
    11. The New Geography in Russia, the Soviet Union, and the Commonwealth of Independent States
    12. The New Geography in Canada
    13. The New Geography in Sweden
    14. The New Geography in Japan
    15. The New Geography in the United States Before World War I
    16. The New Geography in the United States: World War I to Mid-century
    17. The New Geography in the United States: Mid-century to the Present
    18. Applied Geography
    19. New Methods of Observation and Analysis
    20. Innovation and Tradition
    Index of Names
    Index of Subjects

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