30th June 2000 at 01:00
THE URBAN CHALLENGE. By Graham Drakeand Carl Lee. Hodder amp; Stoughton pound;10.99

TOURISM, LEISURE AND RECREATION. By Garrett Nagle. Nelson pound;10.99

Though teachers can'tyet be sure what the exact demands of the new A and AS-level geography syllabuses will be, these two new publications look certainto figure prominently in supplementary acquisitions. Both offer extensive coverage of popular topics and,though from different publishers, are produced in identical format usingcolour, a plentiful array of photographs mostly takenby the authors themselves, and attractively designed page layouts.

The Urban Challenge looks most suitable for higher-ability students and offers 25 chapters on a variety ofurban topics, mixing and comparing material from more and less economically developed countries in a balanced way. Among the topics generously coveredin the 16 chapters on MEDCs are urban models, migration, ghettos, reviving the inner city, gentrification, suburbanisation, changing patterns of retailing, the importance of city images, transport and urban sustainability. In the section on LEDCs, there is a lot of material on Bangalore, providing students with a useful antidote to the predominant Westrn flavour of many urban case studies.

Garrett Nagle's book is part of the successful Focus on Geography series and reflects the author's examining experience. It features summaries, recommended reading, websites and practice questions at the end of each chapter. There are some excellently-organised chapters on coastal, mountain, wilderness and urban areas, and then on aspects of tourism - sport, theme parks, developing countries and sustainable tourism - though possible future trends are not considered. What willhappen, one wonders,when the Chinese start togo en masse on overseas holidays?

In their competent, no-frills presentation of material, both books optimistically presume that readers will be motivated and willing to apply themselves to the concentrated material in the text. The generalised rather than the personalised approach dominates.

The case-studies in both books are mostly flavouredby the language andoutlook of the "officialreport" or the summarised review rather than the researched perspectivesand viewpoints of involved individuals.

Rex Walford was formerly Geography PGCE tutor at the University of Cambridge and is a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge

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