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One People: many journeys    by Lonely Planet order for
One People
by Lonely Planet
Order:  USA  Can
Lonely Planet, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Lonely Planet co-founder Maureen Wheeler says in her Introduction to One People: many journeys that 'We travel because we are curious about people', yet 'travel teaches us that we are all essentially the same'. This marvellous coffee table book reinforces those messages via a series of essays and photographs on themes of Breathe, Play, Live, Work, Love, Celebrate, Reflect, and Die.

Each photograph comes with a brief comment on its cultural context. I love the joy in a Tibetan grandmother's face as she bottle feeds her baby grandchild; the cover image of Peruvian nuns happily playing ball; tourists watching wild snow monkeys relaxing in a Japanese hot spring (smart monkeys!); dancers in Chile; an Inuit hunter outside his firelit igloo at dusk; and an underwater wedding in Key Largo (I guess they must give a thumbs up for the I do's).

Lonely Travel Guidebook authors wrote introductory essays to each theme and how it manifests around the world. Live talks about homes and 'the amazing ingenuity human beings demonstrate in adapting abodes to their climate, needs and resources.' In Work, we're reminded that for the lucky, it's 'about much more than money' but for many it's a 'grinding struggle for subsistence'. And I like Rumi's quote in Love - 'If you want to be more alive, love is the truest health.'

Though many of the photos are spectacular, most are of more interest for what they show people doing than for the picture itself. Give this impressive book to a traveler on your holiday list, or leave one on your own coffee table for friends and family to leaf through - it does a lovely job of presenting how folk are the same in so many different ways around the world.

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