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Influences of Geographic Environment - On the Basis of Ratzel's System of Anthropo-Geography
The present book, as originally planned over seven years ago, was to be a simplified paraphrase or restatement of the principles embodied in Friedrich Ratzel's Anthropo-Geographie. The German work is difficult reading even for Germans. To most English and American students of geographic environment it is a closed book, a treasure-house bolted and barred. Ratzel himself realized "that any English form could not be a literal translation, but must be adapted to the Anglo-Celtic and especially to the Anglo-American mind." The writer undertook, with Ratzel's approval, to make such an adapted restatement of the principles, with a view to making them pass current where they are now unknown. But the initial stages of the work revealed the necessity of a radical modification of the original plan. Ratzel performed the great service of placing anthropo-geography on a secure scientific basis. He had his forerunners in Montesquieu, Alexander von Humboldt, Buckle, Ritter, Kohl, Peschel and others; but he first investigated the subject from the modern scientific point of view, constructed his system according to the principles of evolution, and based his conclusions on world-wide inductions, for which his predecessors did not command the data. To this task he brought thorough training as a naturalist, broad reading and travel, a profound and original intellect, and amazing fertility of thought. Yet the field which he had chosen was so vast, and its material so complex, that even his big mental grasp could not wholly compass it. His conclusions, therefore, are not always exhaustive or final. Moreover, the very fecundity of his ideas often left him no time to test the validity of his principles. He enunciates one brilliant generalization after another. Sometimes he reveals the mind of a seer or poet, throwing out conclusions which are highly suggestive, on the face of them convincing, but which on examination prove untenable, or at best must be set down as unproven or needing qualification. But these were just the slag from the great furnace of his mind, slag not always worthless. Brilliant and far-reaching as were his conclusions, he did not execute a well-ordered plan. Rather he grew with his work, and his work and its problems grew with him. He took a mountain-top view of things, kept his eyes always on the far horizon, and in the splendid sweep of his scientific conceptions sometimes overlooked the details near at hand. Herein lay his greatness and his limitation. ......Buy Now (To Read More)
Ebook Number: 15293
Author: Semple, Ellen Churchill
Release Date: Mar 8, 2005
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