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Frommer's 500 Places to See Before They Disappear Paperback – October 20, 2008

22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

500 Places to See Before They Disappear  enables passionate travelers and the eco-conscious to learn about and plan a visit to see rare cultural, historic, and natural places before they are irrevocably altered or even gone forever. Here are one-of-a-kind landscapes, fragile ecosystems, rare bird habitats, places to see the last remaining species of big game in the wild, cityscapes in peril, vanishing cultural kitsch, petroglyphs, and more—500 thoughtfully-chosen treasures that will inspire and enlighten travelers of all ages.

Each entry explains why it’s been included, gives its history, the nature of the threat against it, brief practical information on how to visit, and what visitors can to do protect it. A Geographical Index allows travelers to locate attractions across the world. Photos throughout the book help bring destinations to life.

Look inside some of the world's most endangered places (Click on images for more information)


"...the first guidebook of 'last chance saloon' holidays...for travellers who want to visit the most endangered tourist destinations..."(The Observer, October 26th 2008)



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Product Details

  • Series: 500 Places (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: *Frommers; 1 edition (October 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047018986X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470189863
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,268,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Sharris on January 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is more like the "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" volume than places that are disappearing. For example, the Grand Canyon is not going to is stressed by the deluge of tourists...but it will be there probably beyond man's existence on this earth. I was expecting a book that noted places on the verge of ecological disaster or simply succombing to time's shifting sands...places that are most vulnerable as we reach this tipping point our planet is facing. On that basis the author might have more fairly titled her book "50 Places to See Before They Disappear" and then focused on those applicable few in more depth. Such a volume would be more interesting and useful to those of us who either want to try to visit or do something constructive about saving these places. Far too many of the entries were typical places listed in any guide books, whose greatest threat comes from the volume or thoughtless deeds of tourists already passing through. Urging more people "to see before they disappear" is only going to increase their vulnerability.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Steven Peterson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am most familiar with Frommer's travel guides that focus on cities or regions. However, this series also features other guides on a variety of subjects. The focus here? ". . .places to see before they disappear." That is, on endangered destinations, whether they be animals (e.g., condors) or places (e.g., the Hill of Tara in Ireland) or human artifacts (e.g., Battersea Power Station in London).

Truthfully, the title is something of a misnomer. The two active volcanoes in Hawaii (Kilauea and Mauna Loa) are hardly threatened and represent one of the sites to see "before they disappear." The Grand Canyon is unlikely to disappear, although its environment may degrade. Also, global warming is casually and routinely tossed around as a potential threat to some locations; I am not sure we know enough about the phenomenon yet to place great weight on the effects of warming for specific locations.

There is also hope. Some of the destinations have improved their prospects over time. For instance, condors were once within a blink of disappearing; now, there are many more than once I would have thought possible.

Some threatened venues, to provide a flavor of destinations: Redwoods Forest in California, the Mekong River, Sherwood Forest (England), gorillas of the Bwindi Impenetrable Mountain Forest, the caves of Lascaux (France), the Pyramids of Giza, the Tower of London, Wrigley Field (Chicago), et al.

There are also cool features, such as listings of ten related locations. To illustrate, on pages 416-417, there is a listing of ten lighthouses that are glorious but which face some level of threat.

An interesting volume. I think some of these sites are scarcely in threat; some threats appear to me to be pretty hypothetical.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
print is small
not many pictures and are printed in black and white
this was a gift my husband asked for and he was disappointed
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By No pen name on January 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
Book has one page synopsis on variety of places, many of which will NOT disappear but rather may be changed due to tourism, climate change, etc. I found the book's title to be misleading, and many of the places included in the book are ones familiar to many people. This one is already marked to be given away at the Library book sale.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Maureen Clarke on November 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
As an editor at Frommer's travel guides, I have one big regret: that Hurricane Katrina beat me to New Orleans. It's sad and even a little embarrassing that I canceled plans to go not once but twice before it was too late. I'll always have the zydeco and jazz records that made me want to visit so badly, but the city as it was will remain a void in my experience. It's irreplaceable.

500 Places to See Before They Disappear is, like the jacket says, a "celebration of the world's most fragile wonders." It's also an inspiring memorial to treasures like New Orleans, sunken so suddenly and unpredictably that a book probably couldn't have saved it. But imagine knowing that outsiders and ordinary citizens could have done more to keep the levees from breaking: Would we have stayed home? Or would more of us have visited sooner rather than later, fallen in love, and rallied to do all we could to preserve a city unlike any other in the world? In its memory, will we let other singular places go? This book will leave you asking these questions not just about New Orleans--championed in the "Cityscapes in Peril" section--but also about Venice, the old Jewish ghetto in Budapest, the hutong neighborhoods of Beijing, the melting snows of Kilimanjaro, the wild white horses of the Camargue, and hundreds of other rare towns, landscapes, monuments, and habitats with uncertain futures in the face of environmental and human threats.

We read of imperiled species, wilderness areas, and cultural relics every day in the news, we see them on the Travel Channel, or we live near them and lobby for their protection. This book gathers a worldwide range of the neediest or most extraordinary sites under one cover.
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