Top critical review
8 people found this helpful
The very definition of a Coffee Table book..
on 23 November 2010
...you could attach a leg at each corner and it'd make a nice one. Seriously, its nice for a browse / flick thru but thats about all. The tone is relentlessly upbeat - everywhere the natives are warm,friendly and generous, despite wars, hardships and repression. The only country we are actively cautioned against visiting is Iraq - North Korea, Somalia, Burma (sorry - Myanmar) are all just fine. The political correctness (or incorrectness in this case) even extends to listing the island of Ireland as a single country - something many natives of Northern Ireland may just have some issues with. I like the way each country, huge or tiny, get the same amount of space - 2 pages, with half a page of text, each. The text is necessarily sketchy and sometimes glib, but mostly interesting, being impressions and random references rather than facts and figures - no statistics here. The photos are, of course, of the highest quality and frequently stunning but as others have noted, very people-oriented. Personally, in a book of this type, I'd be looking for landscapes, street scenes, architechture and natural beauty - but the editors selection of craggy goatherds, cute schoolkids and dreadlocked fishermen gets a bit cliched and wearying for me. If you're more a people person this may be a positive for you. It's a beautiful book, it's fun, it's very positive and uplifting - buy it if thats what you fancy, but not if you need a travel guide or encyclopedia.