Cover image for Administrative subdivisions of countries : a comprehensive world reference, 1900 through 1998
Administrative subdivisions of countries : a comprehensive world reference, 1900 through 1998
Law, Gwillim, 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, [1999]

Physical Description:
v, 457 pages ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JS48 .L39 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



In marked contrast to the United States with its territorial stability, some countries, such as Bulgaria and Ethiopia, reorganize their regional subdivision every ten or twenty years. This unique reference work simplifies the comparison of decades' worth of data from such countries.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Organized alphabetically and covering the twentieth century up to 1998, this reference source contains statistical and narrative details about political subdivisions of each country in the world. These territorial categories have a variety of names: states, provinces, prefectures, departments, territories, republics, regions, counties, boroughs, islands, kingdoms, and districts. Each entry contains similar information: the two-letter code for the country, the language, the time zone, the capital, a short historical overview, the origin of the country's name, and basic population and land statistics. In addition, except for the countries and land areas that have no political subdivisions, there is a chart identifying the political subdivisions and a list containing a variety of statistical information about population, land size, and capital (or "principal town") of the subdivision. The larger entries, such as India and the U.S., also provide other information: "territorial extent" descriptions of geographic details related to each subregion; a historical chronology focused on changes in the political subdivisions; and historical comparative statistics by date and subdivision. A very complete index listing all the identified administrative subdivisions completes the book. Some of the information in this compendium is available in standard reference sources that are updated annually, such as The Europa World Yearbook (Europa) and The Political Handbook of the World (CSA). Although there is sometimes more detail about the political subregions of each country in Administrative Subdivisions of Countries, the statistics in the two-volume Europa World Yearbook are more up-to-date and include statistical estimates based on formulas. For example, the Europa statistics on the subdivisions in Mongolia total more than 200,000 more people than what is listed in Administrative Subdivisions. The Europa statistics also include population density numbers for the subdivisions, whereas Administrative Subdivisions contains only simple population statistics for the country's subregions. However, Europa doesn't consistently identify subdivisions for all countries (e.g., there is no listing of political subdivisions for Turkey). Administrative Subdivisions does list all subregions where they exist. Given the fact that a significant amount of the information in this volume is readily available in standard reference sources and that many of the statistics listed in this volume will probably be updated in upcoming censuses, Administrative Subdivisions of Countries is recommended only for large academic and public libraries and for specialized libraries where historical information on the world's political subdivisions is needed.

Choice Review

Law's resource provides a useful service. Many of the book's elements provide answers to reference questions, such as what is the land area in miles or kilometers for a country or particular part of it. The roman alphabet is used throughout (with transliterations for nonroman alphabets). The entry for each country includes the International Organization for Standardization code, the federal Information Processing Standards code, the official language, the time zone, the capital, a summary history, foreign versions of the name of the country, the origin and meaning of the country name, and the country's present subdivisions. All administrative divisions of the countries listed can be found in the 36-page index. A one-page bibliography lists the works consulted. A registry of countries at the front lists current, obsolete, and foreign names of countries. The "Change History" section for each country covers 1900-98 and can run several pages for many of them. Law has produced a long overdue volume that will enable reference librarians to respond rapidly to some basic questions and that will be the source of choice for matters dealing with the subdivisions of countries and related issues. The book should be part of ready reference collections in libraries of all sizes. G. R. Walden; Ohio State University