Geography Program (SNR)


Date of this Version



Published in The Professional Geographer 20:2 (March 1968), pp. 136–137. Copyright © 1968 by the Association of American Geographers; published by Wiley-Blackwell. Used by permission.


This “preliminary geographical appraisal” of Bhutan is an important contribution to knowledge about an unfamiliar country. Part of the contribution results from information collected by Dr. Karan during recent expeditions. Some field data are presented in the form of new maps, including those of population distribution and important valleys. (An accompanying map with settlement features on a shaded-relief base appeared earlier as Map Supplement No. 5, A.A.G. Annals.) Also, the author's bibliography and assemblage of previously scattered materials will aid future studies of the Himalayan state.

Unfortunately the book will have limited value for many geographers. The numerous pictures, especially the full-page colored ones, should appeal more to “armchair travelers” than to professional geographers, and the book's cost will discourage its use as a textbook. Furthermore, the contents lack a spatial emphasis. Many paragraphs describe political history or current events rather than their spatial relationships. For ex-ample, geographers may skip the discussion about the political demands by exiled Bhutanese (p. 17) but will search for comments about locational factors favoring food industries at Samchi (p. 47).

The book possesses the merits of a “first” geographic survey, but it contains limited “geographic” information.

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