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Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom Library Binding – December, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0974246901 ISBN-10: 0974246905 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Friendly Planet; 1st edition (December 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0974246905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974246901
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 12.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,330,412 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The production of this astonishing book has been an amazing experience for us in every way. Technologically, it has pushed the art of the possible, stretching image processing systems to their limits. We've had terrific assistance from HP to produce the dazzling museum-quality fine art prints; from FedEx in shipping; and from Acme Bookbinding in assembly; and from Amazon in fitting this unusual publication onto their digital shelf; from Apple, the Gates Foundation, Harry Winston, Kodak, Microsoft, MIT and others. Teams at Adobe worked very closely with use to manage the impressive renderings. Countless wonderful people in Bhutan have helped in this adventure, and we are overjoyed to offer this book for the benefit of students there.

About the Author

Michael Hawley, a digital pioneer, was a professor at MIT's Media Lab for about a decade. In the course of that research, he led MIT students (and they led him) on high-tech expeditions in Nepal, Iceland, Norway, Hawaii and elsewhere. Also an accomplished pianist, he won the Van Cliburn competition in 2002 and performed recently with the Boston Pops orchestra.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 27, 2004
Format: Library Binding
I went to a presentation of the book at the University of Washington, and I have to say that the book is very cool. A 5' x 7' book on a stand has a presence,and the combination of the natural beauty of Bhutan and of the amazing quality of the photographs, is very impressive. The size of the book did enhance the subject matter. Michael Hawley gave a very interesting talk about the making of the book, the production of which is really an interesting combination of new technology and old bookbinding techniques. Clearly, this book is really for public collections as most people don't have the funds to purchase it, nor the space to display it. Nonetheless, if you are able to see it (say the University of Washington Library) it is worth the effort.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 15, 2003
Format: Library Binding
This "library binding" edition is a visual and technical tour de force. The really-large-format printing from digital images is a feat in itself. The bookbinding for such a uniquely large and heavy book took innovation in design, materials, and craftsmanship, and required two people two days to assemble each copy.
The combination of stunning images, hand-craft, and technology, along with the small total run of books printed, puts this library edition in a category of "art books." Note that unlike most other art books, most of the price of _Bhutan_ goes to educational charities for Bhutanese children. (See Amazon "click here" for special order details on this book.)
For more information, see many news stories published 12/15/03, including:
NYT (free subscription req'd):
[...]
Seattle Times:
[...]
Boston Globe:
[...]
As the Amazon editorial review and all of the articles mention, _Bhutan_ is certified by Guiness as the "World's Largest Book." The fact that you're reading this review confirms that Amazon is the "World's Largest Bookseller," literally.
Also note, Amazon has a (currently unpriced) normal edition of the book scheduled for 2/04 release. (Click "All Editions.")
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Shayne Fraser on May 26, 2004
Format: Library Binding
Context: I work down the street from the Wichita KS public library where a copy was donated by a local charitable organization. I visit the library often and make it a point to stop by the Bhutan display and view the current page.
The images are so full of detail, it's hard not to love this book. I'm fascinated by each new page and I believe Bhutan is a visual treasure.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Landen Machaj on January 19, 2005
Format: Library Binding
The first time I walked into the West Chicago, IL library after the Bhutan book was placed on display, I thought I had been transported to the Himalayas. Standing in front of these gorgeous mountains, I could feel myself being pulled in. Subsequent days as the pages were turned, I was impressed with the beauty of the area, the beauty of the people, the vibrancy of their costumes. I make a lot of trips to the library-don't want to miss a page. Thanks Dr. George Hawley for donating your son's wonderful work to West Chicago. Worth a trip to view where ever it is on display.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Librarian Lil on April 16, 2004
Format: Library Binding
Perhaps a recent reviewer was thinking of the Kingdom of Bahrain, in the Middle East, which does indeeed have oil resources. Bhutan is not noted for its petroleum resources. Their small economy is based on agriculture and forestry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John L Murphy TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 18, 2012
Format: Library Binding
A couple of reviewers a few years ago remarked how they hoped this would come out in a more affordable format. While that did happen, sold in 2004 for a $100 donation, this smaller volume's also out-of-print by now. I had a chance to examine it, however, and I share my review of that book. (I hope to see the massive one, somewhere, someday.)

This younger sibling to the world's biggest book continued raising funds for medical and educational projects "across the last Himalayan kingdom." Friendly Planet, a charity spinoff of M.I.T., raised money in an innovative fashion, as digital photography and bookbinding skill combined with high-tech expertise under a team led by Professor Michael Hawley, who ran the campus' Media Lab's special projects division. The big brother book, 5' by 7' and weighing 150 lbs., dwarfed the two Bhutanese schoolchildren the team "adopted" on their initial November 2001 visit, when displayed at Harry Winston's gallery in Manhattan. This 2003 book symbolized the meeting of high rollers with a worthy cause, and demonstrated how a $15,000 volume could further other schoolchildren and families in the remote areas of this region, reached only by trails, far from the touristed areas the book documents.

For the smaller companion, itself considerable at a foot by two feet and 15 lbs., this expands the original. It reproduces the immense photos and doubles their number, if in less stupendous manner, by explaining how the original was assembled, and how the team returned to Bhutan in 2003 to bring aid to villages and schools from the moneys raised by the big book.
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