Review: The Routledge Atlas of Jewish History

4 Star, Atlases & State of the World, History, Religion & Politics of Religion

Atlas JewsSuperb, Need This for All Religions and for the IDEAS, July 24, 2008

Martin Gilbert

This is one of three atlases I am reviewing today, but instead of reviewing the twelve or so in my library, a couple of which I did long ago, I am creating a list of atlases as substantive visualization of inquality and relative status.

The other two I am reviewing:
The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World: Completely Revised and Updated
The Water Atlas: A Unique Visual Analysis of the World’s Most Critical Resource

General comment: I remove one star from all atlases I am reviewing for the same generic reasons:

1) Each volume lacks an overview, in the case of women, “the difference women make.” You will not find in this volume the fact that the single best investment for any charitable or foreign assistance dollar is in the education of a woman–from that follows all else that is good in society.

2) Each volume lacks a website where one can rapidly “see” changes for any given chart, or compare and contrast different charts. These atlases, regardless of publisher, are “state of the art” visualization for the INDUSTRIAL era, not the information era.

3) The publishers are not keeping the publications up to date. This one, for example, by Penguin, is copyrighted 2003. All of these need ANNUAL updates as well as a live interactive website where women can interact, add data, and generally create new value from an end-user perspective.

Wish list: that the publishers come together and agree to work together to create a series of atlases on the ten threats and twelve core policy areas, that I list below for convenience.

Ten threats from A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change [LtGen Dr. Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret) as USA representative):

– Poverty
– Infectious Disease
– Environmental Degradation
– Inter-State Conflict
– Civil War
– Genocide
– Other Atrocities
– Profileration
– Terrorism
– Transnational Crime

Twelve policies (of my own making, after studying the Mandates for Leadership from the last 4-5 presidential campaigns in USA):

+ Agriculture
+ Diplomacy
+ Economy
+ Education
+ Energy
+ Family
+ Health
+ Immigation/Emigration
+ Justice
+ Security
+ Society
+ Water

Concluding comment: Peter Drucker said, writing in Forbes ASAP on 28 August 1998, that we have spent 50 years on the T in IT, and now need to spend 50 years on the I in IT. Visualization such as this book provided, but interactive and connected to both “true costs” and to real-world budgets at all levels of governance across all organizations (government, corporate, non-profit).

Other notable atlases of great import:
The Penguin Atlas of War and Peace: Completely Revised and UpdatedOxford Atlas of the World, 14th Edition
Zones of Conflict: An Atlas of Future Wars
The State of the Middle East: An Atlas of Conflict and Resolution
An Atlas of Poverty in America: One Nation, Pulling Apart, 1960-2003
Color Atlas of Diseases and Disorders of Cattle
The Atlas of Endangered Peoples (Environmental Atlas)