The Asia Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the Continent
China Williams & et al
Lonely Planet, 2007 (2007)
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ere's another splendid coffee table sized book from
that combines an overview of Asian travel with a variety of enticing photographs - they give a preview of what's to be seen, and also create a mental itch to start trip planning.
n the Foreword, Roz Hopkins tells us that '
Asia means different things to different people. It's the tranquillity of a watery rice terrace reflecting the clouds. It's the eternal emptiness of the desert; it's the uber-modernity of a neon-bathed city. It's all this and infinitely more.
' An introductory essay speaks of a continent that '
has contributed a cast of heroes and villains to global history
', as well as ancient trading routes and '
some of the world's most revolutionary ideas.
summarizes historical highlights, from the birth of Siddhartha Gautama (founder of Buddhism) in 653-483 BC Nepal to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The overview continues with a map; an
Asia at a Glance
); and a presentation of the region's eight
(each with photo, description and map) - from the
In the Footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia
sian destinations are then presented under five categories:
(Thailand to the Philippines);
(Mongolia to Taiwan and Japan); the
Indian Subcontinent & the Himalaya
(Tibet to the Maldives);
(Turkmenistan to Afghanistan); and the
(Iran to Israel). Each region is introduced by an essay - describing both geography and flavor - and map. Country entries are rich in images and topics covered include
History in a Nutshell
(like rush hour on the Tokyo subway!), and
Best Time to Visit
t the back of this glorious travel book are a series of essays on
Themes of Asia
From Desert to Delta
, discussing '
Asia's complex bond between people and place
Land of Gods
that has played by far the most prominent role in shaping all the major religions practised today
Pop Goes Asia
, its modern cultural expressions; and (one that brought back many memories for me)
Flashing Back to the Asian Hippie Trail
hat a wonderful resource on one of the most intriguing areas in the world! My copy of
The Asia Book
will be well thumbed as I gaze at pictures that recall past journeys, and carefully read its text to plan new ones.
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