For the last five or six years I’ve been an eager reader of books from the WBG – or Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Most of them I order from their substantial catalogue, but once a year they send me a package with three books – which they choose – at a very favorable price. A set of “mystery books”, so to speak.
This year I got Claudia Bringer-von der Heydes excellent book on Die literarische Welt des Mittelalters – which I finished two weeks ago; a collection of articles on Germanische Herrscher, by Frank M. Ausbüttel (on the waiting list); and finally a hefty volume of geography.
A fresh look at geography
Geographie Deutschlands is a door opener. It is a big and heavy and serious read – but it reveals a new and fresh way of looking at geography. At school, geography was taught as an accumulation of facts. Here, it is clearly a complex and highly developed science.
The book takes the environment – and its degradation – very seriously. It emphasizes change. It goes deeply into geology – from plate tectonics to soil formation – and shows how natural and human processes shape our physical environment. Historical geography (including archaeology) is fully integrated.
At the moment I am half-way, and I look forward to the landscapes that remain.