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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Green Guide? Non, un citron vert!, 13 Oct. 2009
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Peter Biddlecombe "peterbiddlecombe" (Bucks, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Michelin Travel Guide USA West (Michelin Green Guides) (Paperback)
("Citron vert", is French for lime, or more to the point, "green lemon")

This was bought in preparation for a holiday which involves traversing the USA and spends about two-thirds of its time in the West visiting a wide range of locations, so more specific books would have been prohibitively heavy. It was used, but various problems were clear after owning it for less than a day. Here are some:

Careless translation - I'm guessing that the book is translated from a French original, as there are some bits of quirky phrasing, and some words that simply shouldn't be there. Examples: when the book describes ice hockey, we're told that "In this breakneck sport, skated players use sticks to maneuver a hard rubber puck (...)". "Breakneck" is nicely apt, but "skated" is used in a way I'd only expect to see in a cryptic crossword clue! On an Alaskan twitcher's paradise: "Tours pause at Marble Island where thousands of kittiwakes, puffins, cormorants, murres and other birds noisily commune on the rocks (...)". Ever heard of a murre? I hadn't, and my mental stock of strange words is good enough to win a couple of Times crossword championships. In the dictionary it turns out to be a US term for a white-breasted guillemot - but I don't take dictionaries on holiday! On food, the rare variant spelling "chile" seems to be used wherever normal folk would put "chilli". Another sample: "wranglers themselves were more likely to enjoy beans, stews and organ meats than the tough, stringy steaks". How can an organisation that dishes out stars to top restaurants allow itself to print nonsense like "chile" and "organ meats"?

Other carelessness: There's a page (94) with eight photos of people on it and not a caption in sight. I can guess who some of them are, but not all. But the opposite page has a photo captioned "A hamburger with a side of crispy onion rings" - I'm struggling to imagine who needs telling that!

Unhelpful organization, missing maps. I'm comparing the book to the Green Guide to Normandy - similar size of book, printed in the same year (2007) and an example of the Michelin green guides which work well for use in France. Normandy is of course a far smaller area, which may mean that the organization of the guide is less important, but the comparison shows up big problems with this book. The inside covers of the Normandy guide have two maps, each covering the whole area - Driving Tours and Principal Sights. With the descriptions of the tours, the first helps you to assess what you can reasonably expect to visit during your trip, or to choose the best places to stay and/or how long you need. The principal sights map shows you where the sights are, and with a bit of nous, you can find a sight on the map by looking it up in the alphabetically sorted main section of the book.

In the USA West Guide, the area covered is so big that both inside covers are needed for the Principal Sights map. This isn't indicated properly on the map - the title for both maps is simply "Principal Sights". So someone used to other green guides might think from the front cover one that nothing south of Salt Lake City was included - adding "North" and "South" to the titles is hardly rocket science. Then when you try to look up places from the sights map in the book, you find that there isn't a single alphabetical sequence as in the Normandy guide, but a nested one - so despite having 3 stars, Yosemite NP has to be located as part of the "Sierra Nevada" section. Some of the sections are named after towns, and some after National Parks or natural features, and there's no map to show you their relative positions, bar one at the beginning of each section, showing you the position of the place after which the section is named, but not the area covered, nor the names of any neighbouring sections. It also shows you the abbreviation for the place's state in a colour that's barely readable. The headings at the top of right hand pages show you both the name of the section and the place within it - e.g. "LAS VEGAS AREA / LAKE MEAD AREA", but this is not easy to use, with the top level one close to the middle of the book. It seems more sensible to discard the left page "DISCOVERING USA WEST" heading and use both sides.

There is a section of the book listing driving tours, but no map to show you the routes! Equally silly is the distance chart, which turns out to be for the whole USA and has no map to show you where the places included are. Not very surprising as 26 of the 30 places listed belong in "USA East". And in my copy some thing weird's happened to the printing, so we get stuff like " i tts ur gh, A" instead of "Pittsburgh, PA" in 10 names out of 30 - and this is a book which tells you the name of its proofreader!

To be fair, there's plenty of good stuff (and its easy for me to take the mickey), but by now it's too late - the overall design of the book is a complete disaster and this should have been established at Michelin HQ before going to press. They should either reorganise the book so that it has a chance of working properly as a guide to the area covered, or change the way they cover the USA - the set of areas covered by the green guides to France has changed over the years, probably for the better. Dropping Alaska and Hawaii would be an obvous start - if it's worth going the extra miles to see them, it's worth getting a specific book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars, 23 April 2015
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This review is from: Michelin Travel Guide USA West (Michelin Green Guides) (Paperback)
Sent quickly, not up to Michelin's usually high standards
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Michelin Travel Guide USA West (Michelin Green Guides)
Michelin Travel Guide USA West (Michelin Green Guides) by Michelin (Paperback - 2 Jan. 2008)
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