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This is the twelfth in my series of brief reviews of National Geographic Magazines as they reach their century marks.

The first article is a man verses beast essay, with the beasts being a hoard of countless locusts attacking virtually all of the holy lands.  The plague of 1915 and the efforts to fight it are not only described in great detail but also compared to biblical plagues (Exodus & Joel).  Islamic writings and oral traditions on the subject are also referenced.  The plague itself came in stages.  Those stages followed the life cycle of the insect.  Clouds of flying locust first descended upon Israel, eating and laying eggs.  Then they were gone.  Upon hatching the larval, wingless locust began to march, eating everything in their path.  Finally, after pupating the locust took to the air again, eating what little was left and then leaving.  A map of the area involved appears on page 542.

Between the first and second articles are the "16 Pages of Photogravure" referenced on the cover.  These photographs are of England and Ireland and have nothing to do with any of the article in this issue.  They are printed on a different stock paper than the rest of the magazine and have browned with age much more than the other pages.

The second article is about first year of the massive (for the time) federal infrastructure project to build a railroad system in Alaska linking the interior coal, gold, and other mineral fields to a free-water port on the coast.  It also is to be use for public transportation for existing and future towns in the territory.  While there is no map embedded in this article, it does suggest one reference the February 1914 Alaska map supplement in four colors while reading the article.

The third and final article in this issue is by the Secretary of the Interior, Franklin K. Lane, and is an "abstracted and revised" version of his report to the President for 1915.  The resources of the country, both natural and man-made are reviewed.  American exceptionalism is extolled including a chart on page 593 showing a list of "Epoch-Making" inventions by Americans over the last 50 years compared to those made by the rest of the world (36 from America, 14 by foreigners).  All in all, it is a very positive report, which is not surprising for a "progressive" administration.

Tom Wilson

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Thanks Tom and Phillip!



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