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The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World (Lonely Planet Travel Books) Paperback – 23 Sep 2011
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'It just reminds me how much of the world there is still to see' --Tony Wheeler, Lonely Planet founder, 145 countries visited and counting ...
'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other' --New York Times
'This book will open your eyes to the world, and open your mind to several dozen countries you've probably never even heard of.' --Amazon customer
Top customer reviews
I like this book as it runs through countries alphabetically and not by grouping them together, I find that this makes it smoother to read and if you do choose to read this as a fiction book then you get a surprise on the turning of every page.
This book allows you to get a `taster' for the country on the page identifying facts and stats as well as having photographs that draw you in. I have come across countries in this book that I had never even thought about visiting, but I found it so inspiring they have become a part of my `countries to visit' list. The book also has sections on the countries for you to get a more in depth opinion on it. Called `under the skin' this allows you to read about what you may hear there, watch, drink, eat and `in a word'. There is also a section on when to visit the country - always useful when you a planning a visit!
I always keep this book out on the coffee table when I have guests and so far I have not come across any who have been able to resist a peek at it. Once they have done, they fall in love with the book and rave to me about it afterwards.
As lonely planet go, I am not a big fan of their individual country guides/books, however I absolutely love their big books which capture the moment in the photograph and make you wish you were there.
I would urge everyone to purchase this book as once you have you would not regret it, mine is currently sitting on my coffee table stuffed with post it notes on pages I wish to now visit.
Every country has two pages dedicated to it - one with photos and one with info. A brief description of the country is provided and then there is a bullet point list of must knows / must sees / etc.
I love that there is a food / drink / music / movie section that will allow you to further throw yourself into a specific culture.
A bible for any traveler.
I'm rating this 5 stars because it's exactly what I wanted and expected - but that does not necessarily mean that it's the perfect travel guide. I wanted something for my children to use over the years to learn about all of the countries of the world, at least in outline terms, and this does exactly that very satisfactorily. But to call it a Travel Book is possibly misleading, because at 4kg it's not something you would want to carry around with you on holiday (or even take with you in the first place) and as a comprehensive guide to planning your holiday in advance, it has to be said that the information provided for any given country is pretty light and of limited use. Since every country is allocated the same page space (two), most of which is taken up with beautiful photographs, you are then left with less than half a page of text to summarise a complete nation. It has to be said that this information, while interesting at all times, will be of limited use to the would-be traveller.
But what you do get, if looked at a different way, is an absolute gold-mine of information for the world as a whole - and I really do mean all of it. Among its near 450 pages you get to read about all of the 192 member states of the United Nations, quite a few of which you may not have heard of. On top of that is a summary of each of 37 more smaller states and principalities, most in far-flung or remote corners of the world. So 229 countries in all with a total of 817 images, many of which are just stunning and informative in their own way. As a means of educating our children of the geography of the planet and enabling them to learn where each country is with a good deal of information about every single one, it's an almost indispenible reference book that will entertain, amuse and educate.
The format is consistent throughout. Each country is allocated the same space in terms of overview, information and advice. First there is a general description of about 125 words, and this is followed by:-
Best time to visit
Top things to see (typically six)
Top things to do (typically four)
Suggestions for books to read, typically just one but not necessarily non-fiction - some novels are recommended
Suggestions for music to listen to that typifies or originates from that country
Suggestions for films to watch (typically one) that best represents that country's identity
Traditional food and drink to sample
An example of a word in the language of that country, with a translation (if applicable)
Trademarks relevant to that country (for example paprika, the Rubik's Cube, goulash and thermal baths all come from Hungary)
A random fact to educate and/or amuse
Finally a small map of the country with most of the key cities, rivers and lakes all named, as well as bordering countries
And of course every country has at least one high-quality image, in some cases there is only one (as in the case of Andorra), but usually there are four or five showing such things as landscapes, architecture and the naturalised inhabitants of that nation
Four bullet-point 'specifications' for each country include the capital city, the country's population, the area in square kilometers, and the official language/s.
I would imagine it would be impractical if not impossible to publish a book of every country that offered all the information a would-be traveller would need, but this is as good an attempt as could be achieved, and probably provides enough to generate sufficient interest in any one country to prepare oneself for reading a single book dedicated to that country of choice. In a way this is an exotic and comprehensive 'list of contents' of the planet, it won't tell you everything about every nation state but it offers enough to help you decide whether or not you want to know more. What it does offer in completion however, with little need for any supplementary publications, is an overview of the world in good detail and with captivating imagery that would be a wonderful educational guide for all the family, not just children. It would also make for a perfect gift for all ages, so with Christmas approaching this will probably appear on many a Wish List.