Top critical review
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Truly dire - beyond self-parody and practically useless
on 21 March 2013
I know Lonely Planet have been "dumbed down" somewhat since their heyday in the 1990s, but bought this as it was (at the time) the only post-revolution edition available. It was a waste of time and money!
The style of writing is now beyond parody - the "trendy vicar down with the kids" style which used to be just grating and annoying has become ridiculous.
The content is remarkably scant in terms of facts, historical/cultural/social/political context, and just plain information. One thing which is noticeable is that this guide is markedly thinner physically than its competitors such as Rough Guide - that should have warned me, but it's the quality of the content that is so dire.
My travelling companion had an out-of-date Rough Guide with him - despite the massive changes that have happened in Egypt in the last few years, his guide was far, far more useful. In fact the LP only came out of my bag to have a laugh at the risibly bad entries we would then compare with the information in his RG.
When there was concrete information and you could bring yourself ignore the ludicrous and sometimes plain illiterate style, the facts set out were just cursory and nothing like as helpful or comprehensive as the RG.
Even the maps aren't as good as they used to be - I'd never have believed it was possible to "dumb down" a map... but oh yes it is!
If all you ever go travelling for is to find the 'trendy bars' and pretend to hang out with locals (in a manner which actually bears no relationship with the cultural realities of the country you find yourself in), then perhaps this bizarre tome might just about be for you... But if you're an independent traveller interested in exploring a country off your own bat, seeing interesting places and learning a little about the place, this LP will at best disappoint but cause you some unintentional laughter - at worst it will really, really annoy you.
All in all, by some margin the worst guide book that I've ever come across intended for independent travellers!