Wednesday, November 5, 2014

100 Places You Will Never Visit by Daniel Smith | Book Review

100 Places You Will Never Visit only gets a "meh" from me.  It wasn't terrible, but it didn't really thrill me either.  The description on the book jacket promises that I will "glimpse the Tora Bora cave in Afghanistan, visit the Tuscon Titan Missile Site, tour the Vatican archives, or the see the Chapel of the Ark."  It says that this is the only way I'll get to see these sites, is through this book.  

Then I didn't get to see much.  I'd estimate only about half the 100 places has a picture of the actual location itself.  The rest are either vague photos or artistic maps or diagrams.  Ya'll know I'm big into photos in nonfiction.  I love them!  Who wouldn't?  So I was majorly disappointed in the lack of photos.  The Tora Bora caves?  No photo.  The Vatican archives?  No photo.  

On top of the lack of photos, then there were the plethora of places that were mythical.  Like "Noah's ark" on Mount Ararat.  On that page, there was a really grainy photo from a satellite of some weird rock outcropping on top of Mount Ararat, but if you read Daniel Smith's description, he clearly states that no one really believes that's the ark.  Area 51 in Nevada is also in here.

Now, I do understand why there would be few photos, and why some places are steeped in mystery, and that's because the author chooses to disclose so many military installations.  I understand it's in everyone's best interest to keep those a bit protected.  So why not focus more on places like Snake Island off the coast of South America?  I'm sure more than one person has taken more than one photo in the dark there... why weren't there better pictures?  Why weren't more places like that covered?  I'm not a conspiracy theorist and I trust my government just enough that I don't really have a desire to muck about visiting military test zones.  But I'd love to have seen a photo of the Queen's bedroom!  
There were enough good "places" covered that it was worth my while to read the whole book.  But there were plenty that I just skim-read.  There are better travel-interest books out there.

*I checked out my copy of 100 Places You Will Never Visit from my local library.

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