The 10 best atlases of the year, according to Amazon

Map: Exploring the World
10. Map: Exploring the World

Exploring the World brings together more than 300 fascinating maps from the birth of cartography to cutting-edge digital maps of the twenty-first century. The book's unique arrangement, with the maps organized in complementary or contrasting pairs, reveals how the history of our attempts to make flat representations of the world has been full of beauty, ingenuity, and innovation.

Selected by an international panel of curators, academics, and collectors, the maps reflect the many reasons people make maps, such as to find their way, to assert ownership, to record human activity, to establish control, to encourage settlement, to plan military campaigns or to show political power. The selection includes the greatest names in cartography, such as James Cook, Gerard Mercator, Matthew Fontaine Maury and Phyllis Pearsall, as well as maps from indigenous cultures around the world, rarely seen maps from lesser known cartographers, and maps of outstanding beauty and surprising individuality from the current generation of map makers.

Review: 4.4/5

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Oxford Atlas of the World
9. Oxford Atlas of the World

Updated annually the Oxford atlas of the world guarantees uses the most up-to-date information. Full of crisp, clear cartography of urban areas and virtually uninhabited landscapes around the world, the Atlas is filled with maps of cities and regions at carefully selected scales that give a striking view of the Earth's surface. It opens with a fascinating look at world statistics and 18 pages of stunning satellite images, all sourced from NASA's Landsat 8. The extraordinarily extensive front matter continues with a "Gazetteer of Nations" that has been comprehensively checked and updated to include recent economic and political changes, and a 48-page "Introduction to World Geography," beautifully illustrated with tables and graphs on numerous topics of geographic significance, such as the atmosphere and geology of Earth, water and food supply, climate change, energy, biodiversity, global conflict, human health, and standards of living. The hundreds of city and world maps that form the body of the Atlas have been thoroughly updated. It's an excellent resource for travel.

Review: 4.5/5

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Rand McNally 2017 Large Scale Road Atlas
8. Rand McNally 2017 Large Scale Road Atlas

Give road-weary eyes a break with this spiral-bound Large Scale edition featuring all the accuracy you've come to expect from Rand McNally, only bigger. Updated atlas contains maps of every US state that are 35% larger than the standard atlas version plus over 350 detailed city inset and national park maps and a comprehensive, unabridged index. Road construction and conditions contact information for every state conveniently located above the maps. Contains mileage chart showing distances between 77 North American cities and national parks with driving times map. Tough spiral binding allows the book to lay open easily.

Other Features:
- Best of the Road - Our editor's favorite road trips from our Best of the Road collection follows scenic routes along stretches of coastline, both east and west, to forests mountains, and prairies; and through small towns and big cities. For a weekend or a week there's something for everyone.
- The Rand McNally Large Scale Road Atlas guarantees users the most up-to-date information.
- Tourism websites and phone numbers for every U.S. state and Canadian province on map pages.

Review: 4.5/5

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Oxford New Concise World Atlas
7. Oxford New Concise World Atlas

With hundreds of dramatic, large-format, full-color maps produced by Europe's finest team of cartographers, the New Concise World Atlas solidifies Oxford's position as the only publisher of regularly updated atlases at every desirable size and price.

Containing over 100 pages of the most up-to-date political maps, satellite images and topographical maps including maps of the ocean floor. In addition to this new front section, there are 16 extra pages of world maps for this new edition covering areas such as Brazil, Peru, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Central Asia countries.

Recent changes to the world's geography are thoroughly captured in this edition; fully updated tables and world statistics provide data on climate, area, population, and physical dimensions. Finally, an index with over 58,000 items make searching for lesser-known locales quick and easy.

Truly international in scope, created with meticulous care, and reflecting the very latest political developments and census information, Oxford's New Concise World Atlas achieves the highest standard among international map resources. This engaging and affordable resource is second to none in the superb quality of its maps, the breadth of its coverage, and its easy-to-use convenience.

Review: 4.6/5

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The World Atlas of Beer
6. The World Atlas of Beer

Take a brew lover's trip around the world in this definitive, revised, and expanded guide. Join renowned experts Stephen Beaumont and Tim Webb on the ultimate beer journey, covering more than 35 countries from Austria to New Zealand. This richly illustrated, comprehensive guide kicks off in Europe, travels through the Americas, and ends in Asia. Along the way, you ll learn about everything from the wheat beers of Bavaria, Belgium s Trappist ales, and Finnish sahti to British bitters, barrel-aged Californian beers, Vietnamese bia hoi, and more, with full tasting notes for over 500 must-try brews. Webb and Beaumont also offer a fascinating history of beer and an in-depth look at the science and art of beermaking. This newly revised and expanded edition of The World Atlas of Beer features ten additional countries including Poland, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, Iceland, and China as well as up-to-the-moment beer industry information and trends. With this ultimate companion in hand, you can explore the best beers in the whole world.

Review: 4.7/5

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National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of the World
5. National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of the World

Maps have been around in some form or other since humans first understood the need to record their physical space, and for the past hundred years, the National Geographic Society has been at the forefront of mapmaking. This Fourth Edition of our popular Family Reference Atlas of the World brings you the world and its marvels - through maps. Using the latest technological advances, satellite data has been compiled to create some 1,400 images - maps, graphs, diagrams, and tables, as well as National Geographic’s signature color photographs - to allow you to examine the most remote corners of the globe.

In an era when political, health, climatic, and environmental crises anywhere on the globe can affect our daily lives, maps provide a time-honored way to navigate the realities we face. With this atlas, you hold a powerful yet accessible tool to understanding the interplay of global forces at work in the fast-changing but always miraculous planet that is our home.

Review: 4.7/5

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National Geographic Atlas of the World
4. National Geographic Atlas of the World

In today's fast-paced global society the National Geographic atlas of the world is your must-have tool for making sense international events and issues making headlines every day. This oversized state-of-the-art atlas features the finest most up-to-date cartography in the world on a scale that brings it all into focus all new automatic maps highlight critical global issues from water resources to climate change to conservation.

You can explore our Solar system and beyond. With detailed charts of the heavens get the facts on every country in the world including population industries major languages and even a short history and large-scale regional maps allow you to zero in global hotspots of conflicts climate change and concern giving you the tools you need to go beyond the headlines and draw your own conclusions. The National Geographic atlas of the world connecting the world to you.

Review: 4.7/5

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Atlas Obscura
3. Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders

It's time to get off the beaten path. Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, Atlas Obscura celebrates over 700 of the strangest and most curious places in the world.

Talk about a bucket list: here are natural wonders - the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, or a baobab tree in South Africa that's so large it has a pub inside where 15 people can drink comfortably. Architectural marvels, including the M.C. Escher-like step wells in India. Mind-boggling events, like the Baby Jumping Festival in Spain, where men dressed as devils literally vault over rows of squirming infants. Not to mention the Great Stalacpipe Organ in Virginia, Turkmenistan's 40-year hole of fire called the Gates of Hell, a graveyard for decommissioned ships on the coast of Bangladesh, eccentric bone museums in Italy, or a weather-forecasting invention that was powered by leeches, still on display in Devon, England.

Review: 4.7/5

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The World Atlas of Coffee
2. The World Atlas of Coffee (From Beans to Brewing)

A beautiful world guide to the brown bean.

Taking the reader on a global tour of coffee-growing countries, The World Atlas of Coffee presents the bean in full-color photographs and concise, informative text. It shows the origins of coffee - where it is grown, the people who grow it; and the cultures in which coffee is a way of life - and the world of consumption - processing, grades, the consumer and the modern culture of coffee.

Plants of the genus Coffea are cultivated in more than 70 countries but primarily in central Latin America, Southeast Asia & Africa. For some countries, including Central African Republic, Colombia, Ethiopia, and Honduras, coffee is the number one export and critical to the economy.

Organized by continent and then further by country or region, The World Atlas of Coffee presents the brew in color spreads packed with information. They include:
- The history of coffee generally and regionally
- The role of colonialism (for example, in Burundi under the colonial rule of Belgium, coffee production was best described as coercive. Every peasant farmer had to cultivate at least 50 coffee trees near their home.)
- Map of growing regions and detail maps
- Charts explaining differences in growing regions within a country
- Inset boxes (For example, what is the Potato Defect? Is Cuban coffee legal in the United States?)
- The politics of coffee and the fair trade, organic and shade-grown phenomena
- Beautiful color photographs were taken in the field.
- Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, equivalent to 146 billion cups of coffee per year, making the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world. The World Atlas of Coffee is an excellent choice for these coffee lovers.

Review: 4.8/5

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World Atlas of Whisky
1. World Atlas of Whisky (From Beans to Brewing)

Award-winning author and whisky expert Dave Broom explores over 200 distilleries and examines over 400 expressions. Detailed descriptions of the Scottish distilleries can be found here, while Ireland, USA, Canada, Japan, and the rest of the world are given exhaustive coverage. There are tasting notes on single malts from Aberfeldy to Tormore, Yoichi (and coverage of the best of the blends). Six specially created 'Flavour Camp Charts' group whiskies by style and allow readers to identify new whiskies from around the world to try.

This extensively updated and extended edition features new material on burgeoning areas, including detailed coverage of many recently opened U.S. craft distilleries, new distilleries in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and discussion of the growing whisky scene in Latin America.

With over 200 beautiful colour photographs and 21 colour maps locating distilleries and whisky-related sites, this is a stylish celebration of the heritage, romance, craftsmanship and versatility of whisky.

Review: 4.9/5

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