It was not a standard atlas, nor a historical one.
Instead, it was an atlas that showed the state of the world based on specific categories. For example, military spending figured in prominently, and you would see on each map that certain nations (particularly the United States and the Soviet Union) looked absolutely huge on the map, as did Western European nations, while other nations, particularly in Asia and Africa, were so small on the map, that they were actually hard to see.
There were all sorts of topics on the map, from defense spending and weapons, to active combat areas, to human rights, to food growth and energy consumption, and all other sorts of areas that you could think of.
One of the maps was outright by population, and it always amazed me that some countries that looked quite modest on a regular map figured prominently on the population map, while other countries that figured prominently on a map in terms of geographical size would hardly show at all (sometimes not at all) on a world map.
Human population growth has exploded, of course, and below is a link to see a similar map to the one available in that world atlas all of those years ago. Obviously, China and India are the biggest countries showing, although there are some other countries that have significant population, but which tend to be overlooked in world news quite often.
Below that first link, there is another kind of map of the world, where vast areas of mostly empty land are colored in blue and, combined, consist of a mere 5% of the population, despite occupying a significant portion of the world's land. Much of these regions, from the sparsely populated sections of the northern United States and Canada, to the mostly empty regions of Russia and western China, to the deserts of northern Africa, are predominately empty and often uninhabitable lands.
In the meantime, one small sliver of land in what appears to be Bangladesh (it is certainly near India, in any case) in the populated southern portion of Asia is colored red, and also accounts for fully 5% of the world's population - despite occupying a small land mass.
Here are the links:
Here's what the world looks like when you map countries by population BEC CREW29 JAN 2015:
The red and blue sections of this map each contain 5% of the world’s population But can you name all the countries in red? FIONA MACDONALD24 JUL 2015