on 3 August 2001
As someone who has lived and travelled extensively in Croatia, I can say that this book is definitely worth taking along. It provides an insight into Croatia that goes beyond all others that I have encountered (for example, Lonely Planet, Croatia Insight Pocket Guide, and the Nelles Guide). It deals with the whole country, not just the coast (i.e. the most obvious tourist parts). This guide takes in most parts of the country that any visitor is ever likely to go to (and a few that are off the beaten track).
Jonathan seems to know his subject, and writes fluidly and confidently about the country. He also addresses (albeit thinly) the touchy subject of Croatia's recent history. I'm not sure what his sources are, but he seems well informed and remains refreshingly faithful to the feel of Croatia. Indeed, historical references litter this work. In bite-size pieces he describes Tito, Communism, the turbulent past of the coast, the economy past and present, and the various empirial influences on the country.
This guide contains very few errors, factual or typographical. This contrasts with the Lonely Planet (LP) guide, which contains several factual errors. Nevertheless, both guides are respectable and worthwhile works. However, this guide has the edge over the LP guide in every respect. It's just more complete. The information on getting about and about facilities is better. Its lists of clubs and bars are very good too (I wonder how Jonathan knows the bars so well!) For example, its treatment of Zagreb is more complete and simply gives you more than the LP guide does. Its maps are pretty good too but I would recommend you buy a decent street map of you are visiting Zagreb. Although neither guide contains many photographs, I think those in this guide are more representative (and seem to be more recent) than those in the LP guide.
I've compared this guide only with the LP guide because the other offerings are really not contenders. They are too thin (physically and in content), deal only with the touristy parts and just don't have the valuable information that this guide does. (One could also suggest that some of the other guides contain rather a lot of information that is freely available on internet.) I didn't shed tears going to Croatia with the LP guide, but Jonathan's guide has the edge and when in Croatia I actually refer to it more often than the LP guide.
There is still no substitute for speaking to the locals, but this guide comes closer than the rest, and that's why I give it 5 stars.