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Excellent photography but poorly organised
on 10 January 2012
planner: inspirational rather than practical.
The photography is excellent but the choice of places seems somewhat haphazard. Perhaps the book reflects a North American viewpoint but, I am not sure to what extent you could really describe some of these places as hidden, even allowing for the suggestions of some occasionally more unusual activities in some of the places. I didn't care for the way the book is organised, it just seemed very disjointed. The chapters are arranged thematically rather than geographically: The World at your Feet (views from high places); Last Wildernesses; Island Getaways; The Road Less Traveled; Secret History; Spiritual Havens; Hidden Treasures; Undiscovered Villages; City Secrets. Within each category is a range of places with no real connections so, for example in Secret History, you find a piece on the village of Oradour-sur-Glane, scene of an appalling Nazi massacre in 1944, facing a description of the frescoed tombs at Beni Hassan in Egypt. In the Spiritual Havens section you find the cathedral of St John the Divine in New York (neither hidden, nor a gem in my opinion, compared with many other cathedrals or churches) cheek by jowl with Khmer temples in Cambodia and monasteries in Bhutan.
Some countries pop up on several occasions but randomly so that you can't really link places easily without resorting to the index. Whilst the arrangement of the contents may well spur an interest in a hitherto unknown place, I found it to be rather frustrating.