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Don't Know Much About Geography: Everything You Need to Know About the World but Never Learned
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Don't Know Much About Geography: Everything You Need to Know About the World but Never Learned

(Don't Know Much About)

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  835 ratings  ·  92 reviews
Davis consistently does what your junior high teacher probably didn't; he makes geography amusing and riveting. From early concepts of whether the world was a disk floating in water (Thales) or pear-shaped (Columbus), Davis explains earthquakes, rain forests, Atlantis and whether there are canaries on the Canary Islands. In short, he covers the scientific, physical, and po ...more
Paperback, Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 27th 2004 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1992)
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Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Now I first read Kenneth C. Davis' Don't Know Much About Geography: Everything You Need to Know About the World but Never Learned when it originally appeared on the market in 1992 (it was a nice and most welcome break from my massive and literary mega-tomes heavy German PhD Comprehensive Exams reading list and I certainly at that time did in fact sorely need a perusal choice that was both informative and engaging, but also without too much academic dryness and monotony). And yes, considering wha ...more
W. Derek Atkins
Dec 08, 2014 rated it liked it
I read this book, and found much of the information interesting and fascinating. However, I found numerous factual errors, including the following:

1. Davis writes that Texas was annexed into the United States in 1836 - This actually occurred in December, 1845. (p. 116)
2. Davis writes that the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific was the site of the detonation of the first nuclear bomb in 1946 - The first nuclear bomb was actually detonated on July 16, 1945 in Almagordo, New Mexico. (p. 184)
3. In his list
Aug 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction-misc
Written by a historian, this book is chock full of facts, trivia, and tidbits about history, geography, and science. It's an interesting read, especially if you enjoy learning about a wide range of social studies. While it's interesting, there is one major flaw: a lack of maps. Sure, there are a few maps thrown in, but they are historical maps (like, the first maps that were made) and not useful to a modern reader. This book is indexed comprehensively like it is designed to be a reference book, ...more
Nathan Albright
Jan 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: challenge
Don't know much about geography? You're not alone. Neither does the author. Or, to be more precise, sometimes the author confuses writing about geography in such a way as to educate, inform, and amuse audiences who often consider geography to be boring with writing thinly veiled propaganda that engages in double-standards in terms of what the author seeks to promote and what he seeks to attack. This is the sort of book that is written for the people who know little about biblical historical geog ...more
Jul 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people brushing up on Geography
Puts me to sleep sometimes but I'm learning things. Some of those things are interesting.

The book sprinkles excerpts from people in history. My favorite is by Neil Amrstrong the man on the moon:

"We were still thousands of miles away, but close enough, so that the Moon almost filled our circular window. It was eclipsing the Sun, from our position, and the corona of the Sun was visible around the limb of the Moon as a gigantic lens-shaped or saucer-shaped light, stretching out to several lunar d
Scott Worden
May 05, 2016 rated it liked it
I enjoyed learning certain aspects of the book (weather patterns, deserts, planets, cyclones, etc.) That was also its downfall: not enough geography and more about other history and astronomy. I also found that the author didn't go into enough detail (e.g. the difference between an ocean and a sea) and just randomly put things together without much thought behind it.
Sigrid Fry-Revere
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Clearly not everything, but very fun to listen to in the car.
Larry Wegman
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting, although with almost more history than geography - and an (I think inappropriately) opinionated outlook on a lot of things - stating things as fact which are actually controversial.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
read with my son for our geography course, it was a thorough trek thru history seen through the eyes of a real estate broker (location, location, location). where it was history we had already covered, it was great. but when it was more recent, and we didn't have the base knowledge, it was hard to grasp because - let's face it - geography without a framework is a boring list of never-heard-of places.

the book was published in the early 90's and it's a product of it's time - pushing an environment
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Good book, similar to "America's Hidden History". The author claims he's going to make Geography less dry for readers, but I don't think he really accomplishes that by discussing such things as ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greek, Persian, etc. societies. Certainly his tidbits are informational if you are already interested in Geography, but not enough to make the layman suddenly become a fan. I also thought his chapter on climate was too preachy. And I don't know if there's an updated edition, bu ...more
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was just the book I was looking for. Geography is a science not just of place names and boundaries, but of politics and culture and environment and history. I learned tons about exploration and wars and colonization and weather and climate and more, all in bite-sized chunks that somehow managed to be very accessible without talking down to the reader. I never felt embarrassed by my lack of knowledge, and it opened my eyes to a number of subjects I never knew could be interesting. Definitely ...more
Buddy Don
Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: geography
This book was not well-designed to last very long. The writing is filled with references that might have been clever in 1992 but have become dated in 2017. Not only that, but the paperback version I'm reading literally fell apart as I read it. Brittle glue, I guess. It was enjoyable in many ways, but the attempt to be more interesting by constant reference to how georgraphy affects current events got old, literally.
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
I admit it. I am a geography nerd. I grew up reading National Geographic. I hoped that this CD, which I listened to in the car from 6/5 to 6/21, would be full of fun and unusual facts. It was, frankly, a bit boring-listing dates and events, just reminding you of the explorers and their accomplishments, and much worse, inserting the writer's politics on global warming and other subjects into the mix.
Kelly ...
May 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
I love history and geography and was hopeful that this book would add to my knowledge and encourage my passion. Unfortunately I found the book too simplistic. If you do not have a basic knowledge of the world it might be for you, but I found myself distracted by its errors and longing for more depth.
Gordon Gravley
Oct 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I know a lot more, now. Davis' books are perfect for all of us who were daydreaming or fell asleep in class.
Feb 24, 2017 rated it liked it
And yet another informative book about a subject I really don't know much about. I don't know how this author does all this research and puts it together in such a pleasant and easy-going style.
Mel Foster
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: eh, not really recommended
Shelves: history
Great idea. Good overview of a range of geography topics. But the execution was poor. There were so many mistakes and misleading statements I started keeping track. When I finished I saw other reviews listing many other mistakes that I hadn't seen because they were out of my area of knowledge. Add to that a very uneven tone--at turns formal, humorous, and condescending, more often cynical and sometimes crass--"Who the hell is a hoosier? " for instance.
Etymological r
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
A geography book needs more maps ! A few maps are included but the reader needs more if they are to truly learn about geography. This is a historical trivia book loosely based around geography.
This book is quite dense and drones on as a textbook at times. More focus and maps would help make this book easier to read and understand. There are also a number of factual errors in this book. So be careful which edition you are reading.

The spoiler contains a few random thoughts & factual errors i
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
The subtitle says this is Everything You Need to Know but Never Learned. I don't know if it says more about my education or myself, but I already knew 75% of this, at least. If this is stuff everyone else never learned, I'm not feeling optimistic about our education system.
Kristina Moses
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed all the interesting facts.
Austin Bertrand
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Not that bad past the first chapter. I see what the other reviews are talking about though.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
Very choppy and very western
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy read about the science Geography. Very informative.
Matt Hasquin
Aug 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
I am sorry that I took the time to read this.
Rachel Myers
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
good humor, fun for learning geography terms.
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
The author has issued a 2013 revised and expanded edition of this 1992 book for several reasons. One is of course that the geographical arrangement of the world has changed quite a bit in that time. A second is the dismal state of knowledge among Americans about geography generally. (For example, a study in 2006 of Americans aged 18 to 24 found that two-thirds cannot find Louisiana on a U.S. map and two in ten cannot even point to the Pacific Ocean on a world map.) Another is that he sees a need ...more
Mat Thorburn
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very interesting book with a ton of information more than you can learn in a geography class. Although most of it I won't remember but fact checking some of the numbers on certain things didn't seem to fit with current information.I LMAO when I read that Sputnik II sent up a (live) dog its 2nd mission. I guess that's better than sending up a dead dog! Great read!
Jul 28, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
The actual geography information in this book is pretty good. My objections lie in the author's zealous anti-religious and pro-"global warming" propaganda. He speaks about people who have religious convictions as though they are poor morons who just don't know any better. Concerning so-called "global warming", he talks about it as though there was no real evidence to refute the unproven thesis that "global warming" is caused by "greenhouse gases" and that people are at fault. Throughout the book ...more
Nostalgia Reader
Not quite what I was expecting... I was hoping it would be a good review of geographical facts that I already knew, combined with ones that I didn't know and some more in-depth descriptions of what I did know. I'd read a couple of Davis's books before and liked them, however these ones were geared more towards kids and not the general masses.

The book addresses many aspects of geography, grouping the "question-and-answers" into semi-thematic chapters. However I really don't think that it lent its
Carianne Carleo-Evangelist
Well that start date is kind of untrue. When I got this from the library I realized it was at 20% already and via LT I realized I'd started and abandoned this in 2015. I nearly did the same in 2016.

While either the e-book format and/or his update have addressed the factual errors mentioned in previous reviews, his updating of this book is random. In one breath he's talking about the fall of Yugoslavia as if it was yesterday and the Euro is a thing of the future. In another, he's talking about th
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Kenneth C. Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Don't Know Much About® series of books and audios for adults and children. The first title in the series, Don't Know Much About® History became a New York Times bestseller in 1991 and remained on the paperback list for 35 consecutive weeks. It has since been revised several times and now has more than 1.6 million copies in print.


Other books in the series

Don't Know Much About (8 books)
  • Don't Know Much About the Bible: Everything You Need to Know About the Good Book but Never Learned
  • Don't Know Much About the Civil War: Everything You Need to Know About America's Greatest Conflict but Never Learned
  • Don't Know Much about History: Everything You Need to Know about American History But Never Learned
  • Don't Know Much About the Universe: Everything You Need to Know About Outer Space but Never Learned
  • Don't Know Much About Mythology: Everything You Need to Know About the Greatest Stories in Human History but Never Learned
  • Don't Know Much About Anything: Everything You Need to Know but Never Learned About People, Places, Events, and More!
  • Don't Know Much About Anything Else: Even More Things You Need to Know but Never Learned About People, Places, Events, and More!
“Memorizing information is valuable but only if you're able to make some sense of the information and put it into a useful context. Isn't it much better if we can attach something tangible to that information?” 7 likes
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