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CANNABIS: Ethnobotany and Evolution. By ROBERT A. CLARKE and MARK D.
MERLIN. xviii and 434 pp.; maps, ills., bibliog., index. Berkeley: University of
California Press, 2013.$95.00 (cloth), ISBN 9780520270480.
If you are asked to teach Cannabis 101, this is the book for you. Physically,
Cannabis: Ethnobotany and Evolution (CEE) evokes the thick, dense textbooks
of introductory college courses: hundreds of large, thin leaves crammed with
small print, amply illustrated with maps, tables, and didactic graphics. This
book shares several strengths and weaknesses of all textbooks, but it also bears
problems arising from its focus on cannabis.
CEE is a landmark work. It is a world history of the plant genus, and
simply beyond compare with previous cannabis histories. Unlike its predeces-
sors, CEE equally considers drug and hemp uses, provides ample documenta-
tion, and avoids heavy-handed political advocacy. Like most textbooks, CEE is
a literature review. It includes little that has not been published elsewhere, but
provides a broad, useful gathering of sources from the vast cannabis literature.
The book is especially important in its discussions of hemp in Europe and East
Asia, and of cannabis botany, reflecting Robert Clarke’s extensive field and
greenhouse experience (undoubtedly greater than any other active scholar).
Importantly, CEE builds upon revolutionary genetic studies that establish two
Cannabis species, one psychoactive (indica) and one not (sativa) (Hillig 2005;
Hillig and Mahlberg 2004). CEE’s Cannabis taxonomy (Chapter 11) usefully
unites the genetic findings with botanical explanation, though CEE does not
provide formal taxonomic description and establishes too many taxa upon too
little evidence below the rank of subspecies. The book’s strengths will make it a
lasting resource for professional and informal cannabis researchers.
Nonetheless, CEE is marked by noteworthy problems indicative of the
cannabis literature as a whole. No book should be expected to cover this litera-
ture completely, but CEE establishes high expectations. It is an attempt at a
“fully comprehensive, documented history of Cannabis” (p. xi); it is based on
“[e]xtensive searches through the literature [... and relies] heavily on primary
written sources” (p. 69); it provides “a comprehensive survey and critical evalu-
ation of evidence” (p. 103). Undoubtedly, CEE is the most comprehensive can-
nabis history, but it is hardly critical and often provides selective rather than
comprehensive literature review. As a result, CEE perpetuates several received
opinions about our plant that deserve greater scrutiny.
First, CEE overestimates our plant’s importance, a discursive theme sup-
porting the broad argument that cannabis prohibition should end. Certainly,
the costs of prohibition seemingly outweigh its benefits (pp. 377381), but
[Corrections added after initial online publication on September 25,2014: on the second page of the article,
1500 BCE” has been changed to “1500 CE” and the references have been amended in the online version.]
The Geographical Review 104 (4): 523536, October 2014
Copyright ©2014 by the American Geographical Society of New York
canards are no more acceptable in challenging prohibition than in justifying it.
As an example, CEE’s explanation of the evolutionary origins of THC (the
plant’s primary psychoactive phytochemical) is disappointingly anthropocentric,
framing the drug cannabis as a deeply natural aspect of human experience. CEE
alleges, “THC was an important compound in human evolution” (p. 376), even
though the most ancient evidence of psychoactive use is generously perhaps
3,000 BCEnot “as much as 50,000 years ago” nor “as much as 400,000 years
ago” nor “only about 12,000 years ago” (p. 376). This allegation is further
suspect because most human populations had no interaction with psychoactive
cannabis until after 1500 CE. Conversely, CEE portrays THC as essentially
anthropogenic: “THC content is not of great natural and adaptive significance
[to the plant... it] is to a large extent a human artifact” (p. 51). Humans do
select Cannabis cultivars for psychoactive potency, but the species indica and
sativa preexisted human selection (Hillig and Mahlberg 2004:973). CEE too
readily rejects natural selection to explain THC in cannabis. For instance, it
discards the hypothesis that THC protects plants from ultraviolet radiation
(p. 54), yet does not consider how rapid PliocenePleistocene uplift of the
southwestern Himalaya (a proposed center of origin for indica) might have
selected for tolerance of solar radiation.
Second, the book maintains a Eurocentric narrative that is untenable
and reflects deeply rooted scholarly biases. CEE emphasizes ancient “Indo-Euro-
peans” in founding human-cannabis relationships, denying agency to other
populations despite physical evidence. In East Asia, “warriors speaking Indo-
European languages” enabled the rise of “Chinese civilization,” partly by intro-
ducing novel uses of hemp (p. 91). In South Asia, “migrating Indo-European
speaking tribes from the north” introduced cannabis (pp. 9899). In Europe, CEE
perpetuates received wisdom through circular logic: Past works that (unjustifi-
ably) presume ancient European cannabis was psychoactive are considered evi-
dence of psychoactive, ancient European cannabis. This circularity supports the
view that Europeans (unknowingly) disseminated potentially psychoactive canna-
bis worldwide as hemp in recent centuries. Consider CEE’s presentation of
Herodotus (5
-century BCE), who told in his Histories that Scythians (modern
Ukraine) burnt hempseeds and showed emotion at a funeral (Book 4, Ch. 74).
The received wisdom is that Herodotus documented psychoactive cannabis,
though hempseeds are not psychoactive and relevant archaeological sites yield
hempseeds but no potent plant parts (like flowers). Indeed, Derham (2003)
challenges the received wisdom, as does Clarke elsewhere: “it is not accurate to
conclude that [the Scythians burnt] Cannabis flowers [...] intentionally to cause
euphoria” (Clarke 2010,24). Clarke and Merlin do not mention these critiques,
and rely upon the received wisdom (pp. 33,81,83,84,159,233,238, and 326).
Though they acknowledge the lack of evidence, they conclude simultaneously,
“we cannot dismiss the idea that [the Scythians also burnt] psychoactive resinous
parts of Cannabis” (p. 214). This is not critical evaluation of evidence.
Third, CEE maintains geographic blind spots. Sub-Saharan Africa is the
most significant omission; Cannabis in Africa (1980) remains the best reference
for the continent. CEE does not comprehensively survey available evidence. For
example, to examine whether slaves brought drug cannabis from Angola to
Brazil, Clarke and Merlin cite a well-established 1975 paper (which they read)
that cited a 1958 report (which they did not read) that quoted “Pio Correa”
(an author they did not trace) (p. 237). No cannabis history has excavated the
Angola-to-Brazil story, but Brazilian scholars have challenged it as received wis-
dom, justifying racially biased drug-law enforcement (Adiala 1986). CEE does
not cite these scholars, nor primary sources that suggest enslaved Africans did
sometimes transport drug cannabis seeds (Du Chaillu 1861,420; Pio Corr^
1926,472). For comparison, CEE offers as many words summarizing a well-
established article about hemp in Chile (p. 181) as it does analyzing whether
Africans might have dispersed Cannabis beyond Africa (p. 237)yet our plant
arrived in sub-Saharan Africa centuries before Columbus; more Africans carried
knowledge of drug cannabis to the Americas than any other migrant popula-
tion; and the Chilean article lacks source citations. This is selective literature
review, favoring well-established sources.
CEE includes problems other than received errors. Venice’s early modern
precedent of controlling hemp production to support maritime power is dis-
cussed, but the differing precedent of its rival Ottoman Empire is not. CEE’s
portrayal of late-Pleistocene geography seems to project North American and
European paleoconditions onto eastern Eurasia (pp. 30,52, and 335). The
book’s chronology is maddening due to sloppy switches between “BP” and
“BCE”/”CE,” within single sentences, paragraphs, and tables, and in at least
one (mis)quote (p. 114). Haphazard date presentation is compounded by
frequently ahistorical portrayals of cannabis uses, which mostly have traceable
histories. Few are immemorially or universally ancient. The use of hempseed as
fish bait is earliest known from France in 1818 (Kresz 1818:33), insufficient rea-
son to suggest its early Holocene antiquity (p. 75). European hempseed-oil
paints date from the 1400s (Merrifield 1849:312315), but by the early 1800s
hempseed oil served to cut more valuable linseed oil (Benedikt and Lew-
kowitsch 1895:280)hempseed oil was not “the [oil base] of choice before the
invention of petrochemical paints” (p. 208).
Unfortunately too, CEE suffers poor organization and inefficient language.
For instance, chapters 2,3, and 4present the plant’s origins and diffusion, but
underlying geographic assumptions are not explained until Chapter 12. Poor
organization results in repetitive text and wearisome self-references. The writing
relies heavily on quotes and paraphrases, without providing page citations, and
provides too few big-picture syntheses. The literature review is overburdened
with minutiae: “Gronenborn (2003, citing the archaeologist Zagorskis 1987)
referred to evidence, which he did not describe, that was recovered from buri-
als at Zvejnieki located close to the outlet of a small river on the eastern side
of Lake Burtnieks (also historically known as Astijarv) in northern Latvia, near
the border with Lithuania” (p. 110). Elsewhere, important details are omitted
(especially from the maps) or misplaced. In sum, the book is perhaps a third
longer than necessary.
Clarke and Merlin are justifiably giants in the field of cannabis studies, and
their new book is truly a landmark that will serve researchers for years to
come. Nonetheless, knowledge of human-cannabis relationships remains
stunted from decades of prohibition. Interested scholars should take CEE as a
starting point for independent research. Critical reading of the cannabis litera-
ture will reveal numerous, significant knowledge gaps. While CEE fills several
gaps, too often it masks ignorance by uncritically accepting entrenched assump-
tions about human-cannabis history. —CHRIS S. DUVALL,University of New Mexico
Adiala, J. C. 1986.O problema da maconha no Brasil. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Instituto
Universitario de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro.
Benedikt, R. and J. Lewkowitsch. 1895. Chemical analysis of oils, fats, waxes and of the
commercial products derived therefrom. London, Macmillan and Co.
Clarke, R. C. 2010.Hashish!. Los Angeles, Calif.: Red Eye Press.
Derham, B. 2003. Archaeological and Ethnographic Toxins in Museum Collections. In Impact of
the Environment on Human Migration in Eurasia, edited by E. M. Scott, A. Y. Alexseev and
G. Zaitseva. 185197. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic.
Du Chaillu, P. B. 1861.Explorations and adventures in equatorial Africa. New York: Harper
du Toit, B. M. 1980.Cannabis in Africa. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: A. A. Balkema.
Hillig, K. W. 2005. Genetic Evidence for Speciation in Cannabis (Cannabaceae). Genetic Resources
and Crop Evolution 52:161180.
Hillig, K. W., and P. G. Mahlberg. 2004. A Chemotaxonomic Analysis of Cannabinoid Variation
in Cannabis (Cannabaceae). American Journal of Botany 91 (6): 966975.
Kresz, C. 1818.Lep
echeur franc
ßais. Paris, Audot and the author.
Merrifield, M. P. 1849.Original Treatises, Dating from the XIIth to XVIIIth Centuries, on the Arts
of Painting. London: John Murray.
Pio Corr^
ea, M. 1926.Diccionario das plantas
uteis do Brasil e das ex
oticas cultivadas. Rio de
Janeiro: Imprensa Nacional.
THE HOUSING BOMB: Why Our Addiction to Houses Is Destroying the
Environment and Threatening Our Society. By M. NILS PETERSON,TARLA RAI
PETERSON, and JIANGUO LIU. viii and 212 pp.; maps, diagrs., ills., bibliog.,
index. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.$29.95
(cloth), ISBN 9781421410654.
In The Housing Bomb, M. Nils Peterson, Tarla Rai Peterson, and Jianguo Liu
argue that continuing the contemporary patterns of housing construction will
fundamentally undermine the environmental and economic foundations of
the global era. The concern here is with the inefficient ways people consume
energy in and through their dwellings, as well as the ways in which sprawling
development further amplifies inefficient use of resources. In addition to these
inefficiencies in technology and infrastructure, the authors present data clearly
showing that the rate of increase in number of households is rising even while
the population rates are tapering off. The proliferation of households com-
pounds inefficiencies in the way people consume, to create a situation that is
wholly unsustainablethe overconsumption of energy and the production of
climate-changing greenhouse gases portends disaster. Ultimately, the authors
are sounding the alarm for the entire globe, though they give the situation in
the United States special attention. At the same time, they believe adopting
new technology, changing the configuration of infrastructure, shifting how
society values housing, and modifying households’ behavior can avert disaster.
Indeed, the book’s title is a play on Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb (1968),
which they cite as a model for raising awareness of a problem and motivating
action sufficient to solve it.
The Housing Bomb is an ambitious project. The book’s argument describes
the nature of the problem and then offers potential solutions. The authors use
the introduction to impress upon the reader the significance of households as
essential drivers of energy consumption. Moreover, they argue that the desire
for householders to locate close to nature and travel long distances by automo-
bile is leading to a dangerous combination of deforestation and increases in
. The principal cause of this is a cultural fetish with housing, which the
authors term “housaholism”an especially pernicious condition that feeds our
voracious consumption of energy. Indeed, Americans’ fixation with building
increasingly larger single-family homes, which are treated as a form of invest-
ment and placed far from urban cores and closer to nature, is placed at the
crux of the problem. An important aspect of the book is to show that how
Americans live is fundamentally unhealthy for the places in which they live.
The first chapter addresses the extent of housing addiction, while the sec-
ond demonstrates how various institutions in the United States have enabled
and encouraged housaholism. National-level data is deployed for several coun-
tries to show how housing proliferation continues even as population increase
slows. The authors explore how aging processes, the division of single house-
holds (through divorce, progression through the life cycle) into multiple house-
holds, increasing size of homes, and sprawling construction contribute to
overconsumption even while population growth is reigned in. They then
describe the ways that governments and private interests work to incentivize
and protect homeownership and frame it variably as a right or the fulfillment
of making it in America. This deftly links racist thought and fear with regula-
tive institutions and the demand for housing at the urban fringe. It illustrates
how the government has institutionalized the factors that created the housing
The next two chapters offer case studies of housing developmentone in
the United States and a second in Chinawhich tell compelling stories of how
geographical communities experience and react to the destructive forces of
household proliferation and overconsumption. Here resides the highlight of the
book: a richly detailed case study of development in Teton Valley, located in
the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The authors examine how municipal inter-
est in growth, coupled with laissez-faire oversight of development and defer-
ence to a notion of inviolable property rights, led to sprawling development in
Teton Valley. Importantly, growth threatened the rural character of the
area, the very attribute that attracts people to live there and creates value for
housing. Peterson and his coauthors convincingly demonstrate that well-
educated, affluent, environmentally minded people are prone to housing addic-
tion, too, and are as responsible as anyone for unsustainable development. The
case concludes by considering how places like Teton Valley can employ
land-use planning to create boundaries around property rights and manage
growth pressures in ways that are likely to maintain rural character and local
self-determination. Both case studies bring readers to the center of how
unchecked housing addiction creates terribly problematic futures for localities
and unfolds the efforts that are being taken to rescue these places. This theme
of action is taken up in the final part of the book.
The subsequent three chapters examine strategies to defuse the housing
bomb. The first focuses on what households living in existing housing can do
to decrease energy consumption, concentrating on how technology upgrades
(for example, energy efficient appliances) and behavior change (driving less,
biking more) can mitigate energy consumption. The authors hint at the impor-
tance of value change in discussing the advantages of moving away from turf
lawns to xeriscaping, but this point is nascent. They demonstrate the feasibility
of their instructions by following their own advice, illustrating how individual
action is both affordable and effective in saving energy while the impact on
lifestyle is minimal. Then they move up a scale to examine what neighborhoods
and municipalities can do to promote more sustainable development, synthe-
sizing existing research on smart growth and renewable energy generation to
argue for the efficacy of action at the local level. The authors close with a
continuation of this argumentation, but focus on actions that region-, state-,
and national-level governments can take to mitigate energy consumption at the
household level, prevent sprawl, and promote denser development. The empha-
sis is on deploying better technologies (smartgrids), improving infrastructure
(following LEED standards, and building more bike and rail transportation
networks), and applying new regulations to the market (fuel economy stan-
dards, eliminate subsidies to homeowners) that can nudge behavior change and
decrease consumption.
The Housing Bomb is ultimately a call to action directed at a broad audience
that includes lawmakers, community leaders, and the general population. To
this end, the book is written in a lively tone and organized in an engaging fash-
ion. In an effort to enhance the book’s accessibility, references are formatted in
endnotes and the authors largely steer clear of theoretical and ideological
positions in the sustainability debate. Furthermore, the call is composed largely
as a data-driven exploration of a problem and its potential solutions. The
authors populate the initial chapters of their book with a mixture of meta-
analyses and original research, including quantitative data on population-level
processes, as well as descriptive case studies of housing development in is expe-
rienced in specific communities. Interpretation is always clear and engrossing,
and the narrative approach is a successful educational device. I highly recom-
mend it for undergraduate courses that aim to draw attention to problems in
environmental sustainability. The text is not, however, without limitations.
A primary critique of the book is that it avoids difficult questions at the
heart of the debate over sustainability. The authors remain focused on the idea
that the United States consumes too much and can easily consume less, but
the authors do not take on the morally weighty question”How much should
a person consume?”that other recent analyses on the topic have tackled,
such as Ramachandra Guha (2006). At the same time, there is an unquestioned
presumption in the authors’ argument that the United States can reach
an environmentally and economically sustainable level of consumption.
Consequently, they do not theorize what this looks like in practice. Nor do the
authors consider whether capitalism, an economic system that demands
continued growth, is a vehicle that can reach sustainability. These points go
unexamined, perhaps, because the core idea at work in the book is that the
impact of overconsumption can ultimately be corrected through proper
application of technology. The Housing Bomb is thus another iteration of the
IPAT model and the authors argue for this model without fully considering
alternatives, such as importance of human values in reaching sustainability, as
considered in Michael Maniates’ “Individualization” (2001).
However, The Housing Bomb offers a provocative way of thinking about
energy consumption as well as pragmatic strategies to move toward sustainabil-
ity. Readers will surely take from this accessible text an appreciation of
urbanization as a potentially self-destructive behavior that can be corrected.
Peterson, Peterson, and Liu describe a battery of tools that can be used to
fix the problem and, appropriatelycompare Anu Ramaswami and her
colleagues’ “Quantifying Carbon Mitigation Wedges in U.S. Cities” (2012)the
authors pay special attention to the ways in which city and state governments
can act.—DAN TRUDEAU,Macalester College
pp.; maps, diagrs., ills., index. New York: Viking, 2012.$40.00 (cloth), ISBN
First it should be pointed out what A History of the World in 12 Maps is not. It
is not an introduction to world history; in fact, a knowledge of that subject is
useful for the reader to get the maximum enjoyment. It also isn’t simply a
history of cartography in twelve landmark maps. Nor is it a coffee-table book
with color illustrations of the twelve maps and brief descriptions. Brotten looks
at twelve maps that were created at “particularly crucial moments” and “either
shaped people’s attitudes to the worlds in which they lived, or crystallized a
particular world view at specific moments in global history” (p. 13). He tells a
story that he points out is discontinuous and marked by shifts and breaks, not
the building up of progressively more accurate datanot the evolutionary
approach taken in so many early histories of cartography.
The book, as would be expected, is organized chronologically and progresses
from clay tablets to Google Earth, and the twelve maps represent the worldviews
or problems of each period. Thus, the chapter titles (subjects) and maps are:
Science (Ptolemy), Exchange (Al Idrisi), Faith (the Hereford mappa mundi),
Empire (Kangnido), Discovery (Martin Waldseem
uler), Globalism (Diogo
Ribeiro), Toleration (Mercator), Money (Blaeu Atlas), Nation (Cassini), Geopol-
itics (Mackinder), Equality (Peters), and Information (Google Earth). While
more than a single map is discussed in each chapter, the “signature” map is the
main focus. The chapters discuss technologyprinting, projections, thematic
maps, and persuasive mapsas well as the worldview of a society or culture at
the time. Brotten recognizes the importance of understanding the technology of
a period as it applies to maps, something that many recent writers of histories of
cartography fail to do. The book is somewhat reminiscent in style to Bill Bryson’s
A Short History of Nearly Everything or James Burke’s Connections in that the
chapters are not a simple, straightforward discussion of the topic map, but rather
weave connections to other maps of the time into the theme of the chapter.
The History of the World in 12 Maps is clearly written with an excellent
introduction that discusses history of cartography and, of course, the now req-
uisite discourse on “what is a map?” The book is beautifully illustrated: there
are fifty-six color plates portraying the signature maps and other related maps
of each period; thirty-eight black-and-white figures are also included. There are
copious endnotes and an extensive index.
Two chapters deserve to be singled out. These discuss maps and concepts
of the past fifty yearsperiods not usually discussed in histories of cartogra-
phy, because earlier works usually focused on maps up to 1800. However,
Brotten brings the discussion to the twenty-first century. The last topics of the
book are: “Equality,” which focuses on the Peters Projection and “Informa-
tion,” which looks at Google Earth. The chapter on the Peters Projection is not
simply a discussion of the debates surrounding that projection, but is a com-
mentary on changes in cartography and the rhetoric of cartography. Brian Har-
ley’s work is discussed in the context of the map as “text” and “rhetoric.” The
idea that maps have power and that they cannot be simply purely objective sci-
entific documents is explored in that chapter, along with maps as propaganda.
The penultimate chapter, “Information,” intertwines the communication
theory for cartography with the rise of computers and the subsequent growth
of Geographic Information Science. While the focus is on Google Earth, it is
not simply a history of Google or a history of GIS, but rather examines the
impacts of these on mapping and ways of viewing the world.
Brotten concludes with an excellent summation of the idea that “
world map is, or can be, a definitive, transparent depiction of its subject that
offers a disembodied eye onto the world. Each one is a continual negotiation
between its makers and users, as their understanding of the world changes.
World maps are in a perpetual state of becoming...” (p. 437).
There are a few slips that detract from the overall high quality of the book,
such as referring to climata as longitudinal. He notes that a lithograph from a
stone would be right readinghowever, that is only the case if the image on the
stone is wrong reading; this is the reason for offset lithography. The inlaid hemi-
spheres on the floor of Amsterdam’s Town Hall are described as “flat hemispher-
ical globes”; a flat globe is an oxymoron. The caption on the illustration does
not describe them as globes, thus these could be ascribed to editorial errors.
Of course, when an author picks twelve maps, it is inevitable that the reader
will ask, “why isn’t X map included?” For example, I wondered why the Ebstorf
mappa mundi was not mentioned in the discussion with the Hereford map. Or
why the maps by Marie Tharp, that changed our thinking about the nature of
the earth and formation of the continents, were not worthy of mention. Other
readers will have their own “pet” maps. However, on the whole his selection is
a rational and legitimate group.
There are three items I wish had been included. Although the majority of
readers will have a grasp of world geography and locations, I would have liked
to see a few more simple, modern location maps for areas under discussion,
such as a map showing countries of the Middle East as he did by including a
map of Southeast Asia. “Callouts” in the text referring to the color plates
would be especially useful to the reader. This is particularly a problem when
several plates illustrate a chapter. Finally, although there are extensive notes, I
would have liked a bibliography. However, this is usually a publisher’s decision
and the author may have had no say in the matter.
Overall, I found this book to be a commendable addition to the history of
cartography literature and I highly recommend it.—JUDITH A. TYNER,California
State University, Long Beach
HERE BE DRAGONS: Exploring Fantasy Maps and Settings. By STEFAN EKMAN.
viii and 284 pp., maps, ills., bibliog., index. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan
University Press, 2013.$67.50 (cloth), $20.62 (paper), ISBN 9780819573230.
Stefan Ekman has set out to fill a gap in fantasy literary criticism, namely the
importance of landscape in fantasy literature. He notes that “apart from occa-
sional brief reflections on the landscape’s central importance to fantasy, little
has been written on the subject” (p. 2). He points out that although the land-
scape is considered important to the genre, in other studies most attention is
paid to character and plot.
In fact, little has been written on maps and landscape in literature in gen-
eral. Philip and Juliana Muehrcke’s 1974 “Maps in Literature,” Yi-Fu Tuan on
maps in Sherlock Holmes, Ricardo Padron’s “Mapping Imaginary Worlds,”
J. B. Post’s Atlas of Fantasy, George Demko’s website “Landscapes in Crime,”
and Nicholas Tam’s website article “Here Be Cartographers: Reading the Fan-
tasy Map,” plus unpublished theses and conference presentations are some of
the main sources. I know of nothing book length. Even books on the writing
of genre fiction rarely discuss use of maps, although they may address setting.
And yet, maps and setting play a major role in much genre fiction, especially
in science fiction and fantasy where new worlds are created, described, and
This book focuses on works from the mid-1970sto2007, but makes an
exception for the works of Tolkien and refers to the Lord of the Rings trilogy
throughout the book. Ekman’s main interest lies in how the setting works in
relation to the story. He uses a “topofocal” or place-focused perspective to
examine the four types of fantasy divisions described in the chapters.
The book is well structured. The first chapter is an introduction and defines
terms such as high and low fantasy, primary and secondary worlds. The four
main chapters are “Maps,” “Borders and Boundaries,” “Nature and Culture,”
and “Realms and Rulers.” Ekman describes these chapters as moving from
large-scale to small fantasy maps, divisions between domains, interrelationship
between two domains in an urban setting, and finally, the link between rulers
and realms. These chapters are designed to stand alone and can be read in any
order. Each of the main chapters has an introduction followed by a discussion
of several examples from fantasy literature and a summary.
The chapter on maps is likely to be of particular interest to geographers. In
keeping with the basic chapter structure, Ekman first looks at previous explora-
tions of fantasy maps and then asks the now obligatory question “what is a
map?” and more specifically, “what is a fantasy map?” He discusses how to
regard maps that are not representations of an actual place. Even though many
maps and settings in literature are of this typethe maps in Gulliver’s Travels,
the map of William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha Countythere has been com-
paratively little study of such cartographic representations. A major part of this
chapter consists of a statistical survey of fantasy maps. Drawing on a random
sample of 200 maps from a sample frame of nearly 5000 maps, he looks at the
prevalence of maps in the novels, how many maps the novel contains, and
the features on the maps. I am not sure that such a formal statistical analysis
adds to the book. Knowing that 87 percent of the maps in the book sample
include rivers, while being more “scientific” for a book of this nature is no
more useful or informative than saying most maps include rivers. Is knowing
that 5.4percent of the maps include a projection more meaningful than saying
that projections are rare on fantasy maps?
One problem when surveying the use of maps in novels is that often maps
are omitted from reprint paperback editions owing to publishing costs. If the
survey isn’t confined to first editions, this can skew the results. It appears that
this was not an issue here.
In the map chapter, the author “reads” two fantasy maps, “A Part of the
Shire” and “The West of Middle-earth,” both from The Fellowship of the Ring.
Unfortunately, illustrations of these two maps are not included. In fact, only
three maps are included in the entire book: “Isles of Glory” from Glenda
Larke’s Gilfeather, a graticule from “The Sixteen Kingdoms of Faltha” in Russell
Kirkpatrick’s Right Hand of God, and the map from Ian Irvine’s Geomancer.
While the author has assumed, probably correctly, that anyone reading Here Be
Dragons has read Tolkien, and/or has the maps at hand, it is possible that a
reader may be looking at maps in literature in general, or is a mystery or
science fiction reader. Thus, someone unfamiliar with the Tolkien maps will be
lost. This latter comment applies to the other chapters in the book, and the
problem also arises when Ekman discusses examples from additional fantasy
books; more than passing familiarity with the literature and its major books
and authors is assumed.
The author has included two appendices. The first discusses the methodology
for the map survey and includes the formulas for margin of error. The second
is a list of the books in the map sample and includes title, year, and series and
notes whether maps are included. The endnotes and the bibliography are exten-
sive, and the book is well indexed.—JUDITH A. TYNER,California State Univer-
sity, Long Beach
THE ROUTES NOT TAKEN: A Trip Through New York City’s Unbuilt
Subway System. By JOSEPH B. RASKIN. xii and 323 pp.; maps, diagrs., ills.,
bibliog., index. New York: Fordham University Press, 2014.$34.95 (cloth),
isbn 9780823253692.
The long-awaited 2
Avenue subway in Manhattan is finally scheduled to open
in 2016; only its first phase. The rest will likely take much longer. This Manhattan
East Side line was originally proposed in 1920, in an ambitious plan released by
Daniel Turner, then head of the Public Service Commission, along with many
other lines to the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and even Staten Island. Whereas
most of these other projects were forgotten or, sometimes, built, the 2
line has gradually become the symbol of a system unable to modernize, much
less to develop. Without a regular source of money besides the fare box, the New
York City subway history is a succession of dashed hopes, refinancing, service
disruptions, emergency repairs, and, more recently, crowdedness.
According to Raskin, Assistant Director of Government and Community
Relations for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority New York City Transit,
and a self-educated scholar, the real question is how did the existing lines get
built in the first place? In his book, The Routes Not Taken, he shows that it is
much more common for a line to remain only an idea on paper than to
become a subway. Via a thorough analysis of local newspaper articles and
archives at the Transit Museum, Raskin details the combination of political
bickering and economic constraints that have sunk so many projects. Readers
curious about specific situations and neighborhoods should find plenty of
Why, for example was the Flushing line never expanded past Main Street
in Flushing? The last stop on the #7line is one of the most trafficked
stations in the whole system (tenth in 2012), with more than nineteen mil-
lion swipes per year (60,000 on an average weekday). Morning rush hour is
a jumble of riders starting right on the streets, where over twenty bus lines
terminate, and ending in a terrible crush on the platforms of the express
and local #7trains. All together, this station serves a population of over
300,000 New Yorkers, the equivalent of a city larger than Yonkers and New
Rochelle combined.
Since its opening, from 1917 to 1928, when it finally reached Flushing, the
#7train was always supposed to extend into the confines of northeastern
Queens. The 1929 plan, prepared by the board of transportation shows two
branches reaching Whitestone and College Point to the north and Murray Hill
and Bayside to the east. The extension is still on the map in 1939 and then
again in 1945, before finally dropping off the plans.
In one detailed chapter, Raskin shows three types of internecine rivalries
that contributed to this sorry stalemate in the 1920s and 30s. For one, real
estate owners in Flushing wanted an underground subway, rather than an
elevated. They thought that an elevated would diminish the value of their
property and undermine the character of the town. Communities in College
Point, Whitestone, and Bayside favored an elevated because they knew that the
cost of building a subway to their communities would be too high. In the end,
the notables of Flushing prevailed, and the #7train, elevated all throughout
Queens, takes a sudden dive underground for its last stop under Main Street.
Since the station was underground, there was no necessity to widen the street,
which explain why there is no room today to accommodate the buses and the
foot traffic of Flushing.
Another rivalry was between the Interborough Rapid Transit (IRT), the
Brooklyn Manhattan Transit (BMT), and the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR),
then all independent, private companies. The LIRR was operating two lines
across the area. Asked to share the tracks with the subway, it demanded unrea-
sonable compensation and dragged its feet, thus postponing competition for
years. When the LIRR relented, the IRT refused to operate on city-leased
tracks. In 1932, LIRR service to Whitestone was discontinued and the tracks
were left unused. Finally, rivalries between elected officials, account for addi-
tional delays. Mayor Hylan, an opponent to the IRT and BMT, and a foe of
the state administration, obstructed the work of the New York State Rapid
Transit Commission and delayed the arrival of the #7train to Flushing.
Others chapters in the book recount the similar fate of unbuilt lines in
Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Somehow, given all the obstacles, adding
chronic underfunding to political and economic feuds, it seems almost like a
miracle that anything was built at all.
This is where the book, thick into the details of endless negotiations, suffers
from a lack of historical perspective. The author does not seem to be aware of
the work of historians of the city, even the few who actually worked on the
New York City subway. Clifton Hood’s 722 Miles (2004) explains how the sub-
ways were built as the resulting alliance of seemingly divergent interest groups,
mostly real estate developers and city reformers. The first and second wave of
subway building were an avowed attempt to decongest Manhattan, and espe-
cially the Lower East Side, by sending workers farther uptown and to the outer
boroughs, while allowing them to come to work into the city. Most of the IRT
and BMT lines were built into farmlands and wetlands that quickly became
populated as developers built and sold for a profit.
In the 1930s, the third wave of subway building, the municipal Independent
Subway (IND), was mostly built into already developed neighborhoods. While
ridership gradually skyrocketed to an all time high in 1946, these new lines did
not get the support of private industry, nor did they expand the tax base of the
city into new densely populated territories. Meanwhile, both the IRT and the
BMT were constrained by a fixed five-cent fare. They preferred to skim what-
ever profit was made than invest in the maintenance and expansion of the sys-
tem, as examined in Peter Derrick’s Tunneling to the Future (2001). The result
was the bankruptcy of both companies and the unification of the system under
municipal control in 1940. By the end of World War II, the system was in dire
condition. After 1946, ridership plummeted as cars invaded the streets and took
the middle class out to the suburbs.
But the 2
Avenue subway remained on the map. In 1951, the state legisla-
ture authorized the city to float an exceptional bond in order to build this spe-
cific line. In exchange, in 1948, the fare went up to ten cents, the first hike in
forty-four years. The money however, was never used for the new line. It was
diverted for urgent maintenance and to pay for the costs of building transfers
between the three separate historical systems. Meanwhile, the 2
Avenue El
was demolished in 1942, and the 3
Avenue El in 1953. Residents of Harlem,
the Bronx, and the East Side had to revert to the crowded Lexington Avenue
In 1972, work started at 103
Street thanks to new federal money, but in
1975 the city’s financial crisis stopped all work, leaving three lone unusable seg-
ments. Ridership reached and all time low for several years before new emer-
gency money was infused by the legislature in the 1980s to renovate the tracks
and the fleet. As the economy and ridership picked up in the 1990s, plans were
revived for the 2
Avenue line; in 2007, work started once again.
Since the introduction of the Metrocard and the free bus-to-subway
transfer, ridership has been steadily growing. For the first time in 2001, it grew
faster than car driving. This mode-shift may be heralding a more mass-transit-
oriented, urban development. Subways, once thought of as a technology of the
past are in many cities around the world a symbol of 21
-century modernity.
Still, in New York City, progress has been slow. In addition to the 2
line, the #7train is also being expanded. But instead of growing to the east and
relieving the pressure in Flushing and northeast Queens, it is moving to the
West Side. The expansion was paid for by the city, which bet on higher real
estate tax from new development.
So why were so many lines never built? Throughout its history, the New
York City subway has been caught in a paradoxical conundrum that prevented
it from growing, and even imperiled its survival. Unlike in other cities, the
New York City subway was thought of both as a revenue-making venture that
should pay for its own expense and growth, and as a public service with a fare
affordable by most New Yorkers. Most subway scholars have pointed at the
disastrous effect that the fixed nickel fare associated with private management
had on the service and infrastructure. More recently, the Ravitch commission
(2008) recommended that a new tax be leveraged especially to finance the regu-
lar operation of the whole urban mass-transit system. The proposalas well as
the later congestion tax of Mayor Bloombergwas struck down by the state
legislature. Until the subway and suburban mass transit are recognized as
public services, just like schools and fire stations and roads, the city will most
likely not be able to build more lines out of the many plans drafted by its
planners. Even if the whole city depends on it, mass transit will lag behind
other systems in the world in quality of service, and slow down the progress
towards a more sustainable metropolis.—ST
EPHANE TONNELAT,Centre National e
la Recherche Scientifique and New York University
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Sample populations of 157 Cannabis accessions of diverse geographic origin were surveyed for allozyme variation at 17 gene loci. The frequencies of 52 alleles were subjected to principal components analysis. A scatter plot revealed two major groups of accessions. The sativa gene pool includes fiber/seed landraces from Europe, Asia Minor, and Central Asia, and ruderal populations from Eastern Europe. The indica gene pool includes fiber/seed landraces from eastern Asia, narrow-leafleted drug strains from southern Asia, Africa, and Latin America, wide-leafleted drug strains from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and feral populations from India and Nepal. A third putative gene pool includes ruderal populations from Central Asia. None of the previous taxonomic concepts that were tested adequately circumscribe the sativa and indica gene pools. A polytypic concept of Cannabis is proposed, which recognizes three species, C. sativa, C. indica and C. ruderalis, and seven putative taxa.
The analysis of amorphous organic residues from archaeological and ethnographic collections provides direct evidence for the use of natural materials, which can help enrich interpretations of past societies. The value of this approach is increasing, driven by advances in extraction and analytical techniques that permit the analysis of an ever-wider range of compounds. However these approaches have not yet been targeted towards toxins based upon natural plant based poisons and narcotics. This paper will present the outline of a chemical analysis based approach to identifying trace residues associated with hunting poisons and sacred hallucinogens as well as poisons of a purely harmful nature. The successful exploitation of potentially lethal natural toxins can be taken as representative of the great ingenuity shown in man’s adaptation to the environment.
Cannabinoids are important chemotaxonomic markers unique to Cannabis. Previous studies show that a plant's dry-weight ratio of Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to cannabidiol (CBD) can be assigned to one of three chemotypes and that alleles B(D) and B(T) encode alloenzymes that catalyze the conversion of cannabigerol to CBD and THC, respectively. In the present study, the frequencies of B(D) and B(T) in sample populations of 157 Cannabis accessions were determined from CBD and THC banding patterns, visualized by starch gel electrophoresis. Gas chromatography was used to quantify cannabinoid levels in 96 of the same accessions. The data were interpreted with respect to previous analyses of genetic and morphological variation in the same germplasm collection. Two biotypes (infraspecific taxa of unassigned rank) of C. sativa and four biotypes of C. indica were recognized. Mean THC levels and the frequency of B(T) were significantly higher in C. indica than C. sativa. The proportion of high THC/CBD chemotype plants in most accessions assigned to C. sativa was <25% and in most accessions assigned to C. indica was >25%. Plants with relatively high levels of tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and/or cannabidivarin (CBDV) were common only in C. indica. This study supports a two-species concept of Cannabis.
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