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The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World    by Lonely Planet order for
Travel Book
by Lonely Planet
Order:  USA  Can
Lonely Planet, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Softcover

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

With The Travel Book, the armchair traveler doesn't have to stir even to change continents, as it puts 'The Whole World In Your Hands', covering every single country (230 of them) on the planet - there's a handy world map early in the book in case you get lost along the way. What a treat also for the serious traveler, who will enjoy recalling places already visited, and will linger over alternatives for future journeys. The book is coffee table size and full of (1200) fantastic Lonely Planet photographs that you feel you can almost step into.

I enjoyed reading about the challenges of defining a country in the introductory 'Story of The Travel Book' - the driving force was traveler interest rather than total political correctness. We're told the objective was to 'get under the skin' of each place, capturing its spirit through text and selected images. Countries begin with Afghanistan and end with Zimbabwe, with thirteen intriguing additional destinations summarized at the back - these are mostly islands that are dependencies of other nations, Ascension to Wallis & Futuna. The text for each country includes a summary paragraph, best time to visit, essential experiences, 'Getting Under the Skin' (what to read, listen to, and/or watch to learn about the place; what to eat and drink; a greeting or word in common usage; trademarks of the culture; what will surprise you there, a Lonely Planet quote about the place; and a mini map.

I love this book. I had fun re-visiting places like Afghanistan and Andorra, Bhutan, San Marino, Tahiti and Thailand. And I added Argentina, the Easter Island, Iceland, the Maldives, Peru, and Tibet to my to visit list (if I'm lucky). One thing I noticed while flipping through the glorious photographs was that people, young and old, smile from the pages in the same way, no matter their color or country. The Travel Book will make a most welcome gift for both armchair and active traveler on your holiday list.

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