Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2001


Published in Great Plains Research 11:2 (Fall 2001). Copyright © 2001 Center for Great Plains Studies.


Boal and Royle, geographers from Belfast's Queen's University, have assembled a volume consisting of twenty-four individually authored chapters (essays) organized into seven sections. Section A, an introduction by the editors, relates the geologic process of continental drift (collision) and accretion to social processes involved in the cultural history of North America. This enterprising chapter neatly sets the stage for the ensuing sections and chapters. “The Physical and Biotic Milieux” (Section B) consists of three chapters focusing on physiography and earth surface processes, weather and climate, and the relationship of culture to environment. The first of these chapters is a bit uneven, short on imagination, and offers some dated information. North American weather and climate are better presented in the next chapter, which nevertheless could have been organized more effectively (climagraphs, for example, are a dated way to display the exciting aspects of climate). Undoubtedly suffering from page constraints, these chapters lack a sure connection with subsequent ones. The third chapter, on nature and culture, concentrates on the timber industry and is well written.