SOCIAL SCIENCES

The World: A Traveller's Guide to the Planet

Lonely Planet. Nov. 2014. 960p. illus. maps. index. ISBN 9781743600658. pap. $29.99. TRAV
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The popular publisher's latest effort is gargantuan at two-plus pounds, 960 pages, and more than 200 countries featured. Some may question the usefulness of a book this size while on the road, but as an initial resource for basic information before starting out, it's close to perfect. Beginning with Afghanistan and ending with Zimbabwe, the guide lists both familiar and lesser-known destinations. Each entry supplies details on population, language, land area, capital, belief systems, etc. Top visitor experiences are explored, along with traditional food and drink. Color photos and small maps are included. Pitcairn Island is described as "the smallest territory in the world and one of the most remote destinations on earth…both claustrophobic and wildly exhilarating." An extensive index provides additional access for resources by subject (i.e., kayaking, megaliths, hot springs, and more). There are suggested multiple-country itineraries and recommendations for specialized interests.
VERDICT This first edition was produced by the Australia-based office of the publisher; readers may find that the work's focus differs from their own perception of what is best in a given country. An excellent guide for the world's least-visited destinations.

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