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Landscapes of Alaska

Landscapes of Alaska, by members of the U. S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior, edited by Howel Williams, 148 pages, 23 illustrations, 6 maps, 3 figures, glossary and index. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1958. Price $5.00.

This timely, authoritative work, illustrated from photographs by Bradford Washburn and others, is an attractively published, valuable addition to the growing fund of information about our newly welcomed forty-ninth state.

Conrad Wirth, Director of the National Park Service, says in his foreword: "Why not ask the geologists to present their knowledge of Alaska’s landscapes in such a way that the rest of us can gain a better comprehension of the scene?” This objective has been well attained. Fifteen short chapters deal with the chief physiographic divisions of the country. In the introduction the statement is made that during the Ice Age, beginning about a million years ago, the growth of glaciers was such that the sea was lowered between 150 and 300 feet. Bering Strait became dry land and man first came from Siberia to North America.

In each chapter, the geology, physical appearance of the area, glaciation and volcanic activity where these existed, vegetation, natural communications, activities of men in the last century, and the possibilities for the traveler today are woven into a comprehensive picture of the whole. There is a "Glacial and Permafrost map of Alaska.” In the Alaska-Aleutians chapter there are three detailed tables listing eighty or so volcanoes with their altitudes, locality, and history of activity. Six maps in color show the relief, glaciation and names of physical features including the mountains and their altitudes.*

An evening or two, spent with this book will be a revelation. It will give everyone, whether with or without much previous knowledge of Alaska, a mental picture of the country which will lend new meaning to any future reading about it or visits there.

Henry S. Hall, Jr.

*Through the courtesy of the University of California Press and the National Park Service, three of these maps, which were prepared by the U. S. Geological Survey, are reprinted in this issue of The American Alpine Journal.—Editor.