Students taking A-level geography or American studies will find this book about Canada and the United States useful. It would also make an excellent briefing document for anybody doing business in North America.
The authors, two accomplished geographers and teachers, link many of modern geography's productive ideas with a vast array of information about the world's most dynamic continent and its peoples. Their direct and light style makes the book eminently readable.
Treatment is thematic. Chapters on natural environments and settlement history lead into exploration of significant aspects of the continent's geography. A further section looks at natural hazards of the atmosphere and Earth's crust, and attempts at management.
Each section begins with a continental overview, followed by discussions and case-studies that build into a balanced regional mosaic. Questions pick out the main themes and act as useful guides and revision summaries. Maps and diagrams are clear and straightforward.
In an unusual final chapter, North America is shown to be involved inevitably in all significant political and economic developments in the world. It is a timely reminder that no continent, even one containing the world's only super-power, can afford to "go it alone" in a world of instant communications, global production and consumption and - dare we admit it - one people.
Patrick Bailey teaches at Loughborough University's department of education