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The Earth's Land Surface

The Earth's Land Surface
Landforms and Processes in Geomorphology

April 2010 | 360 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This introductory text details the land surface of the earth in a readable style covering the major issues, key themes and sensitivities of the environments/landscape. Emphasizing the major ideas and their development, each chapter includes case studies and details of influential scientists (not necessarily geomorphologists) who have contributed to the progress of understanding. Providing a very clear explanation of the understanding achieved and of the debates that have arisen, the book is comprised of 12 chapters in four sections:

  • Visualizing the land surface explains and explores the composition of the land surface and outlines how it has been studied
  • Dynamics of the land surface considers the dynamics affecting the earth's land surface including its influences, processes and the changes that have occurred 
  • Environments of the land surface looks to understand the land surface in major world regions highlighting differences between the areas
  • Management of the land surface is an examination of the current and future prospects of the management of the earth's land surface

With comprehensive pedagogical features including full color plates, further reading, questions for discussion and glossary, this original, lively text is authored by one of the leading experts in the field and will be core reading for first and second year undergraduates on all physical geography courses.


Recognizing the Land Surface
Study of the Land Surface
Controls Affecting the Land Surface
Processes and Dynamics of the Land Surface
The Changing Surface - Evolution of Landscapes
World Land Surface Landscapes
Polar Regions: Arctic, Antarctic and High Latitudes
Temperate and Mediterranean Environments
Arid Environments
Humid and Seasonally Humid Tropics
Urban Landscapes
Future Land Surfaces: Management of Change

Ken Gregory has produced a concise but comprehensive guide to geomorphology which is characterised by a very clear text, superbly useful tables, and some mini-biographies of some of the leading figures in the discipline. It is particularly strong on the different types of geomorphological environments, including those of cities
Professor Andrew Goudie
University of Oxford

Founded on his long and distinguished career as a geomorphologist, Ken Gregory has produced a stimulating and far-reaching overview of the subject...The book is written in an accessible style. It succeeds in providing both detail and perspective by including within each chapter a wealth of excellent, information rich tables; carefully chosen further reading; a list of topics for further study; and short profiles of one of the key players in the development of the specific area of the subject...This book has great potential to act as a companion volume for undergraduate study of geomorphology at all levels, providing a springboard from which a programme of detailed literature research can develop. It also provides an excellent source of information for anyone who needs a well-informed, easy to use reference volume to introduce them to the fascinating complexities of the earth's land surface, past, present and future
Professor Angela Gurnell
Department of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London

A book which is comprehensive in its topics, logical in explanations but at the same time easy to read for both undergraduates and the interested public. A true reflection of Prof Gregory's professional enthusiasm and rich experience
Denes Loczy
Zeitschrift f r Geomorphologie

Professor Gregory, in his preface, acknowledges that this book may be seen as retrograde by some, a possible throw-back to the days of descriptive geomorphology. However, throughout the book he is able to capture the past, present and future of the Earth’s land surface without appearing dated, and illustrates clearly where our understanding comes from and where our research is taking us...Given the sheer scale of the topic under consideration here, Professor Gregory does well to condense it into bite-size pieces for the reader. I recommend this text to all undergraduate students of physical geography and earth sciences, particularly to those in their first and second years. I am sure it will appear on their class reading lists, as it will on mine. This book is a comprehensive and (crucially) inexpensive text that will provide students with a useful source on geomorphology
Lynda York
The Geographical Journal

The book has a consistent format and is written in a clear style, so that those who are not geologists or geographers would be able to understand as it explains all terms, as if it is the first time the reader has encountered them... One thing I found particularly useful are the "Topics" at the end of each chapter. These are questions, much like in school text books, that one can answer to check that they have absorbed all that was intended from the chapter, as well as suggested reading... Also at the end of each chapter is a 'Scientist Profile', a short biography on scientists that have at some point in their career contributed into the understanding of geomorphology... I think that this gives the book a unique edge... I would highly recommend this to anyone doing geology or geography at university as a "go to" book for geomorphology and landform.

Sara Falcone
Teaching Earth Science

I think this book is very suitable for undergraduate level and I will recommend it to my colleagues.
This book is very well to whom interested in reconstruction the paleoclimatic condition.

Mr Abdallah Zaki
Physical Geography, Ain Shams University
May 26, 2015

Finally a compact and straightforward geomorphology book, which undergraduates may use without feeling daunted by the sheer book size of this discipline. The students took in well this book and felt it was the right bridge between their basic knowledge of geomorphology within the geography discipline and the next step in specialising further in geomorphology as a field.

Mr Ritienne Gauci
Department of Geography, University of Malta
March 15, 2013


Mr Jonathan Roberts
Youth and Community Work, University of Teesside
January 7, 2013

I recommend this book to be read "after" the course, due to its broad and holistic vision of the earth's lanscapes. Our course is mainly oriented to processes and landforms which are not fully covered in Gregory's book. Anyway, the numerous tables included in each chapter are very useful.
The chapter on "Urban Landscapes" is highly recommended as it is not usual to find such separate chapter on a textbook.

Dr Jaume Bordonau
Geodynamics and Geophysics, University of Barcelona
January 9, 2012

There still isn't a book that really covers exactly what I do in this module, but this new book by Gregory adds some nice new angles on the traditional material, giving students a refreshing, different flavour in their reading. I am recommending it as supplementary reading this year, with a view to judging student feedback at the end of the year and deciding whether to promote it more strongly in future years.

Dr Peter Knight
School of Earth Sciences & Geography, Keele University
December 8, 2010

This is a nice overview over the main aspects of geomorphology. It very clearly written and very well suited for students in the first years. Moreover the price is very not very high, so I would recommend it in a class for supplementary reading, besides German-language textbooks.

Mr Udo Brixy
Regional Science, Institute for Employment Research
September 3, 2010

Clearly structured with useful diagrams

Dr Simon Hutchinson
ELS, Salford University
July 21, 2010

This book provides a good, accessible overview of many of the Earth's key environments (natural and urban) and considers ways of explaining their development and management issues associated with them. Because of the breadth of material covered this book would be a useful text for students undertaking a range of physical geography courses at all undergraduate levels.

Dr Patricia Warke
School of Geography, Archaeology & Palaeoecology, Queen's University Belfast
April 27, 2010

I confirm the reciept of the Inspection copy and having gone through the topics discussed found the book quite worthy of adoption for courses in my department. The author touched the main issues in geomorphology and landscape development.

The book is clearly written and can easilybe understood by the student.

Mr Oludare Adedeji
Geography and Regional Planning, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Nigeria
April 26, 2010

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One

Chapter Two

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