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  • South Carolina: An Atlas ed. by Charles F. Kovacik
  • Scott S. Brown
South Carolina: An Atlas. Charles F. Kovacik, ed. South Carolina Geographic Alliance, Columbia, SC, 2005. 41pp., maps, graphs, tables. (ISBN 0-9768247-0-1)

This atlas is a collection of maps, accompanied with text that portrays South Carolina’s physical and human geography. It outlines the human geography in an historical context, beginning with indigenous cultures and continuing in sequence through the colonial, antebellum, post-bellum, and contemporary periods. The Atlas comprises a handsome collection of clear, descriptive, and colorful maps that effectively portray each of the themes discussed. This atlas is largely a condensed version of Charles Kovacik and John Winberry’s previous textbook, South Carolina: A Geography, published in 1987. This work nicely brings out the maps from the textbook and utilizes an adequate but not excessive amount of text to explain the maps in the context of South Carolina geography. In addition, the atlas updates information since the 1980s and thus continues where the previous textbook left off. [End Page 369]

While the atlas claims to be geared toward K–12 teaching, it is also appropriate for college teaching, especially since this is the only complete synopsis of South Carolina geography available, and is complete with illustrative maps and graphs. It also introduces the students to important tools of geographic analysis, such as thematic maps, graphs, and tables. Thematic maps include various types of geographic information such as demographics, climate, weather, historical events, commerce, and transportation infrastructure. Important graphs for geography students include climographs.

The atlas begins with a description of the geographic location of the state of South Carolina and its counties. All the important aspects of the State’s physical geography are mapped, such as elevation, drainage, landform regions, climate and weather, and precipitation, and both precipitation and temperature are portrayed in the form of climographs for several cities. In addition, it conveniently and appropriately places South Carolina’s landforms and climate within the context of the continental United States. The indigenous culture groups who inhabited the region at the time of European contact are clearly mapped as well as the theory on their early origins within the context of the peopling of North America. Colonial landscapes that are mapped include agriculture, early settlements, roads, and Revolutionary War battle sites.

The chapter on Antebellum Landscapes covers important demographic information such as changes in population growth on a countywide basis, migration, distribution of plantation agriculture, and slave population, also by county. Transportation infrastructure such as railroads and canals also are mapped. This section covers Civil War information, such as Sherman’s March, but unfortunately it does not map the battle sites from this important war, which I think would be a helpful addition.

The chapter on South Carolina’s Post-bellum Landscape also maps demographic information. The population distributions for 1900 and 1950 are portrayed and this conveniently compares population changes that took place around the state during those 50 yr. Migration patterns and distribution of sharecropping by county are clearly depicted. Transportation infrastructure, in this case, railroads, are mapped and thus can be easily compared with the antebellum period. Manufacturing is included, as textile mills symbolized the beginning of industrialization in South Carolina during this time.

The chapter on the Contemporary Landscape mostly portrays data that have been gathered since the last edition of the Kovacik and Winberry textbook and thus appropriately continues where the previous text ended. The chapter is rich in the portrayal of demographic data from the 2000 census and includes transportation infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, and culture. South Carolina’s population characteristics are portrayed by multiple maps including population change from 1950 to 2000, population distribution, urban and ethnic population distribution, and the distribution of urban and metropolitan areas. In addition to generalized agricultural patterns and the distribution of cotton over the decades, it would be helpful to have additional maps showing the changes in the distribution of tobacco or soybeans over this period of time, albeit these crops [End Page 370] always have been more geographically concentrated in the Pee Dee region.

The Tourist Attractions map presents a colorful display of the location of the State...


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