Cover image for Window seat : reading the landscape from the air
Window seat : reading the landscape from the air
Dicum, Gregory.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Chronicle Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
175 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 21 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E41 .D53 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
E41 .D53 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Talk about a fresh perspective! Perched 35,000 feet in the air, Window Seat decodes the sights to be seen on any flight across North America. Broken down by region, this unusual guide features 70 aerial photographs; a fold-out map of North America showing major flight paths; profiles of each region covering its landforms, waterways, and cities; tips on spotting major sights, such as the Northern Lights, the Grand Canyon, and Disney World; tips on spotting not-so-major sights such as prisons, mines, and Interstates; and straightforward, friendly text on cloud shapes, weather patterns, the continent's history, and more. A terrific book for kids, frequent flyers, and armchair travelers alike, Window Seat is packed with curious facts and colorful illustration, proving that flying doesn't have to be a snooze. When it's possible to "read" the landscape from above, a whole world unfolds at your feet.

Author Notes

Gregory Dicum is a San Francisco-based writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, HotWired, New York Magazine, Travel & Leisure, and others.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Aiming to educate air passengers about the structures and topography they spot out their windows during flights over North America, Dicum, who chronicled the coffee industry in 1999's Coffee Book, also entertains. Instead of organizing the book by well-traveled routes (New York to L.A., for example), he divides America and Canada into regions (the Great Plains, the Mid-Atlantic) and describes the landforms, water formations and human features endemic to each area, with sidebars on how to spot such entities as urban sprawl, interstate highways and federal land. Satellite images taken miles higher than the typical flight's altitude of 35,000 feet illustrate what readers are likely to see from their window seat. In the chapter on Texas, for example, Dicum uses satellite photos to explain how to identify oil wells, the border with Mexico, and Hill Country towns settled by Germans, who arranged their New World communities just as they had in Europe, with the main street parallel to a river. In an easy, cogent style, Dicum answers questions curious flyers may have wondered but never understood, like why some farmland is arranged in squares and some in perfect circles. He manages to wrest fascinating cultural significance from quotidian details (e.g., the bizarre land shapes in the rural South result from the post-Civil War government's attempts at land redistribution). Compulsively readable, the guidebook is composed of both handy factual information as well as deeper lessons about North America and its inhabitants. 70 color photos, 25 line drawings. Agent, Wendy Burton-Brouws. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved