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LONELY PLANET
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THE TRAVEL BOOK:
A Journey Through Every Country in the World
One in the Lonely Planet Pictorial Series
Author: Lonely Planet with Roz Hopkins

This book contains some 1200 images and 100,000 words, and covers 230 countries. Every country, large or small, is featured and each destination is evoked through a unique mix of images and original text. The effect is a series of tantalizing glimpses, which somehow gather their own momentum with every page turned and combine to present an awesome picture of our vast and kaleidoscopic world.

This book began with a seemingly simple proposition - to represent every country in the world in images and l text in an accessible A to Z format. A few obstacles soon stood in the way. Firstly, the possible answers to the question "what is a country?" Secondly, the fact that this is a travel book, not an exhaustive reference book of the world. The world is viewed through the lens of the traveller, focusing on places to visit for their beauty, fascination or singularity, even if this sometimes conflicts with the world as it is defined by political or geographical borders. And lastly, sheer logistics - the world is a breathtakingly big place, and to cover it all in one book is a big ambition.

What is a Country?
Lonely Planet's first port of call was the United Nations' list of defined countries - all 192 of these had an automatic ticket for entry into this book. The UN list does not include the foreign dependencies of these countries, whether self-governing or Crown colony, but they wanted to feature some of these places because they are ever-popular traveller hang-outs. In this category they included some, but not all, Caribbean islands and groups, as well as Bermuda, New Caledonia, the Cayman Islands and French Polynesia, all dependencies of geographically far-flung entries.

The publisher also decided, based on traveller interest more than political correctness, to feature the component parts of Britain - England, Scotland and Wales - as separate entries. Archenemies and old friends, England, Scotland and Wales all have rich and distinctive histories and cultures, which hold enduring appeal for travellers, and we wanted to reflect that in this book. Other destinations, such as vibrant and colorful Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, which are all parts of China, have historic identities that separate them from their present-day political situation. For the traveller, they are often experienced as separate and different, and so Lonely Planet featured them that way.

Antarctica and Greenland are not countries, strictly speaking, but these vast lands are not only extremely photogenic, they are also fascinating to visit, a fact not lost on adventure travelers who make tracks there in ever-increasing numbers.

At the end of this book are 12 'bonus' destinations that Lonely Planet couldn't bear to leave out, but could not justify as full entries. These places were selected because they are fascinating, often beautiful, often remote places that are fast gathering focus on the insatiable explorer's map. Visit these places and you may find yourself competing with Tony Wheeler's founder, Tony Wheeler, for recognition as the world's best-travelled person.

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