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The Rough Guide to the USA (Rough Guide Travel Guides) Paperback – 30 Mar 2000


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Product details

  • Paperback: 1232 pages
  • Publisher: Rough Guides Ltd; 5th Revised edition edition (30 Mar 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1858285275
  • ISBN-13: 978-1858285276
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 3.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,561,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

The holiday-makers' favourite guidebook series (The Sunday Times Travel Magazine) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

INTRODUCTION

For five centuries, travelers have brought their hopes and dreams to America. For the earliest pioneers, it was a virgin wilderness ready to be shaped into a "New World," a potential paradise wasted on its native peoples. Millions of immigrants followed, to share in the building of the new nation and to better their lives, far from the hidebound societies of Europe and Asia. Eventually, slaves, who had been shipped over from Africa and the Caribbean, joined them as free citizens. As the United States expanded to fill the continent, something genuinely new was created: a vast country that took pride in defining itself in the eyes of the world.

Every traveler in the United States has some idea of what to expect. American culture has become so thoroughly shared throughout the globe that one of the principal joys of getting to know the country is not so much the difference of the place as the repeated delicious shock of the familiar. Yellow taxis on busy city streets; roadside mailboxes straight out of Peanuts cartoons; wooden porches overlooking the cottonfields; tumbleweed skittering across the desert; endless highways dotted with pick-up trucks and chrome-plated diners; the first sight of the Grand Canyon, or the Manhattan skyline.

In this book, we've picked out the highlights for travelers across the entire USA, from Maine to Hawaii, and Alaska to Florida. We've divided the country region by region and state by state, and covered every area of every state. As well as the big cities and national parks, we've explored the highways and byways, singling out detours worth making, and places to avoid. On every area written about, we've done more than simply provide up-to-date practicalities for visitors: we've delved into the history and provided background on the people who have made America what it is. Our hope is to inform and entertain travelers, and to point in unexpected directions as well as to the obvious landmarks, no matter whether you've lived here all your life or are seeing it all for the first time.

Traveling in the United States is extremely easy; in a country where everyone seems to be forever on the move, there's rarely any problem finding a room for the night, and you can almost invariably depend on being able to eat well and inexpensively. The development of transportation has played a major role in the growth of the nation; the railroad opened the way for transcontinental migrations, while most of the great cities have been shaped by the automobile. Your experience of the country will be very much flavored by how you choose to get around. By far the best way to explore the country is to drive your own vehicle: it takes a long time before the sheer pleasure of cruising down the interstate, with the radio blaring rock or country music and the signs to Chicago or Nashville flashing past, begins to pall. Car rental is an absolute bargain, every main road is lined with budget motels charging around $30 per night for a good room, and the price of gasoline remains relatively low.

We have also detailed public transportation options throughout; with the aid of the excellent-value nationwide rail, bus and air passes, you can get to wherever you choose, foreign visitors in particular. However, if you do travel this way, there's a real temptation to see America as a succession of big cities. True enough, New York and Los Angeles have an exhilarating dynamism and excitement, and among their worthy rivals are New Orleans, the flamboyant home of jazz, Chicago, at the cutting edge of modern architecture, and San Francisco, on its beautiful Pacific bay. Few other cities - with the possible, and idiosyncratic, exception of neon-laden Las Vegas - can quite match this level of interest, however, and following a heavily urban itinerary will cut you off from the astonishing landscapes that make the USA truly distinctive. Especially in the vast open spaces of the West, the scenery is often breathtaking. The glacial splendor of Yosemite, the thermal wonderland of Yellowstone, the awesome red-rock canyons of Arizona and Utah, and the spectacular Rocky Mountains are among many of the treasures preserved and protected in the splendid national park system. Once you reach such wilderness, the potential for hiking and camping is magnificent - but it's usually essential to have a car to get near these spots.

Above all, travelers can enjoy the sheer thrill of experiencing American popular culture in the places where it began. Place names from rock 'n' roll songs spring into life; panoramas straight out of Hollywood movies spread across the horizon; road trips taken by your favorite literary characters can be re-created. For music fans, the chance to hear country music in Nashville or rhythm and blues in New Orleans, or to visit Elvis's shrine in Memphis, verges on a religious experience; readers brought up on the books of Mark Twain can ride a paddle-wheeler on the Mississippi; moviegoers can live out their Western fantasies in the Utah desert.

The United States is all too often dismissed, even by its own inhabitants, as a land almost devoid of history. Though mainstream America tends to trace its roots back to the Pilgrims and Puritans of New England, the rest of the continent has a longer history, stretching back way beyond the French culture of Louisiana and the Spanish presence in California to the majestic cliff palaces built by the Anasazi in the Southwest a thousand years ago. There are also any number of fascinating strands to America's post-revolutionary history: relics of the Gold Rush in California, of the Civil Rights years in the South, or of the Civil War anywhere east of the Mississippi.

Though we've had to structure this book regionally, the most invigorating expeditions are those that take in more than one area. You do not, however, have to cross the entire continent from shore to shore in order to appreciate its amazing diversity, or to be impressed by the way in which such an extraordinary range of topography and people has been melded into one nation. It would take a long time to see the whole place, and the more time you spend on the road simply getting from place to place - no matter how enjoyable in itself that can be - the less time you'll have to savor the small-town pleasures and backroads oddities that may well provide your strongest memories. It doesn't take long to realize that there is no such thing as a typical American person, any more than there is a typical American landscape, but there can be few places where strangers can feel so confident of a warm reception.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Saunders (sms67@blueyonder.co.uk) on 21 Jan 2002
Format: Paperback
A one-volume guide to all 50 states is a huge undertaking, but this book achieves it. It is expertly detailed, humourously written and an absolute pleasure to use. If it has any weakness at all, it is perhaps the dull, small-scale maps, for example of Texas, and the lack of detail on rail travel across the country. But make no mistake, this one is the very best available. Rivals will be hard-pushed to match it. A great guide!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ash TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 18 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback
I bought this from Amazon several years ago, and it was completely invaluable for my lengthy trip around the States. From Miami to Seattle and around again, this guide book provides the exact information you need - good places to stay, eat, explore, get drunk, with helpful maps accompanying it all. My copy is battered and torn now, but I wouldn't be without it. I even recently opened it to read a concise history of the mid-West, which it provided brilliantly. If you have an interest in the States or are planning a Greyhound oddyssey of your own, buy this book!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Aug 2005
Format: Paperback
I Found the book very easy to use, broken up into logical chapters with lots of very useful insider knowledge.
Planning my trip around America has been made a lot easy with the help of this book. I would definately recommend it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By IanD on 13 May 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of Rough Guides and must have at least 50 of the printed books. However, this was my first purchase of a Kindle version and I only bought it because the printed copy was unavailable - and this still appears to be the case (a Kindle marketing ploy??).

What makes a travel guide useful is the abundance of good photographs along with detailed maps and comprehensive indexing. The USA Rough Guide (Kindle edtion) fails to satisfy any of these criteria; there are very few images; the maps are unreadable and can't be zoomed (or printed using a computer); and there is no index. The latter is most annoying and unnecessary and no thought seems to have been given by the editors as to how people use a travel guide!

When using a printed copy of a guide, the index is invaluable for looking up the name of a town or sight one is about to visit. With the Kindle, you have to do a word search but this comes up with every mention of the name in the whole book - not only the main entry for that location. Consequently, you frequently have to wade through a mass of irrelevant entries to get to the one you want. I really don't understand why they didn't provide a full index.

All in all, a complete waste of time unless space and a few extra ounces of weight in your luggage are critical!
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Even though this book is very outdated it lists all the 50 states and is one of the best guides to the USA currently available on amazon, plus is has a great selection of possible road trips and gives you a vast amount of useful ideas for your travels. I haven't been able to put it down. Obviously the prices and opening times of the many attractions listed will be something that you will have to double check, and purchasing an updated guide will also enable you to see the new attractions that each state has. But as a basis its the prefect starting point, also not to mention the price you can get this good for make me unable to fault this little gem of a guide book!
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I found that the guide was trying to cover to much in a short format, so missed some of the points previous guides published by the company had done, maybe the city guides would work better but be much more expensive to buy and more to carry
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By Susi-Q on 8 Feb 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The item was bought for a Christmas present - just what the recipient wanted as he hopes to do a bit of travelling this year.
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By Sarah on 27 Jan 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Am a fan of The Rough Guide and this one of the USA is the usual fact filled, easy to read reference book.
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