I Used to Know That: Geography (Stuff You Forgot From School)
Remember when you went to grade school (a/k/a grammar school; a/k/a elementary school) there were some subjects you did wonderfully in and others were more challenging? The grammar school I attended taught Geography—the geography of New Jersey. So, I could name the 21 counties that comprise New Jersey, knew about the farming belt and the wetlands and the pine barrens, had a rudimentary understanding of the climate, and knew the names of all the significant cities.
That rich background in Geography has made me what I am today—totally lost. You see, if I’m in New Jersey, I know which direction is north, south, east, and west, but outside of New Jersey (or New York City), I could get turned around in a closet. Which is why I celebrate the publication of Reader’s Digest’s I Used to Know That: Geography (stuff you forgot from school). It’s not that it reminds me just what I forgot from school; it tells me everything I might have learned had I attended public school.
Every few months someone publishes the startling fact that Americans don’t know their geography. Unfortunately to understand either current events or history, some basic geographic knowledge is required. Knowing that Cuba is “somewhere in the middle of the Caribbean” or that Afghanistan is “way east” doesn’t help put events in perspective.
Written by Will Williams and Caroline Taggart, I Used to Know That: Geography is a wealth of geographic knowledge broken down into various fields of information. In addition to allowing the readers to place countries, cities, oceans, and continents on the map, there is a generous supply of information about things about which we sometimes wonder (Whatever happened to Upper Volta? It’s now Burkina Faso. Rhodesia? Zambia and Zimbabwe.)Continued on the next page