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Lonely Planet The Cities Book (General Pictorial) Hardcover – March 1, 2006

18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


New York Times, August 2006
'...offers days of browsing pleasure.'

From the Publisher

Who We Are
At Lonely Planet, we see our job as inspiring and enabling travellers to connect with the world for their own benefit and for the benefit of the world at large.

What We Do
* We offer travellers the world's richest travel advice, informed by the collective wisdom of over 350 Lonely Planet authors living in 37 countries and fluent in 70 languages.
* We are relentless in finding the special, the unique and the different for travellers wherever they are.
* When we update our guidebooks, we check every listing, in person, every time.
* We always offer the trusted filter for those who are curious, open minded and independent.
* We challenge our growing community of travellers; leading debate and discussion about travel and the world.
* We tell it like it is without fear or favor in service of the travellers; not clouded by any other motive.

What We Believe
We believe that travel leads to a deeper cultural understanding and compassion and therefore a better world.


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Product Details

  • Series: General Pictorial
  • Hardcover: 428 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet; 1 edition (March 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741047315
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741047318
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,197,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
For anyone with wanderlust in their blood, this is the coffee table book for you. Having thoroughly enjoyed the Lonely Planet's photo extravaganza predecessor, "The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World", I was excited to see that editor Roz Hopkins has chosen to follow up with this subjective ranking of the two hundred cities deemed traveler favorites by Lonely Planet's readers and editors. Smaller, lighter and admittedly less definitive than "The Travel Book", "The Cities Book" is just as entertaining - slightly over five pounds of often glorious photographs and thumbnail sketches of the chosen cities.

The format is straightforward. Each city has a two-page spread with four defining photos and the following information consistently presented:

--Vital Statistics: Quick facts providing the date when the city was born, its elevation, its geographic size and location, its population and its nickname. It's amazing how Paris has set the standard for so many other cities, e.g., Budapest is known as the "Paris of Eastern Europe" and Beirut the "Paris of the Middle East".
--Anatomy: Description of the geographic layout of the city and how to navigate within.
--People: Ethnic breakdown of the denizens.
--Typical Native: Profile of what characterizes the city's typical native and what he/she thinks is important.
--Defining Experience: A sequential series of personal experiences unique to what the city offers, which can be done fairly easily by a traveler.
--Strengths: List of places, events and experiences that identify the best of what the city offers.
--Weaknesses: The flip side of what areas of development the city may have, e.g., Tokyo's high cost of living or St. Petersburg's collapsed buildings.
Read more ›
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I was looking for a book that had a few great pictures of each city and a bit of commentary. I'm more than willing to overlook the commentary -- how could any 1 page of bullet-point text ever really capture a city? But the commentary is weak -- a bizarre mix of pseudo-hipness and hackneyed stereotypes that may have been apt 20 years ago (if ever).

What I found unforgivable are the pictures. The only explanation I can come up with is they let loose an amateur photographer with instructions to be "artistic". Poor-quality pictures included of Paris: The canvas canopy of a pizzeria, pastries, the underside of the Eiffel tower, a couple kissing in a cafe. Of Rome: The face of a statue, a blurry shot of a street, a slice of a colonnade, 2 men with the city in the background. Lisbon: A tram in a narrow street next to hanging laundry, 3 undistinguished houses, a woman in a window and a crowded beach.

I've spent time in many of the cities covered and can't fathom why they chose the photographs included. They don't capture the cities and they are not good stand-alone photos.

I was looking forward to an interesting read with some evocative pictures. I don't recognize most of the cities as depicted in the book -- including New York where I live. I strained to identify all but 1 of the pictures (close shot of 2 women in the subway, a blurry shot of 2 cabs, a painting in a gallery at MOMA and the Apollo Theater sign). A little New York nit: how can one of New York's "strengths" be Dean & DeLuca and a "weakness" be "the coffee". One can find any style of really great coffee in NYC -- and Dean & DeLuca has some of it.

The book has the feel of an 8th grade social studies textbook. With the odd commentary and bad photos -- completely grim.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Wanderlust on June 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Lonely Planet has done it again. I loved the Travel Book and now they have something similar... but its Cities. I starting flipping through this in a bookstore, was totally mesmerized and had to buy it. There are the usual suspects (Paris, London, New York) and then cities that I've never even heard of. Each page is dedicated to a specific city with beautiful photography and the usual Lonely Planet sass and humor. One of my favorite parts is the first few pages where there is a history of the city and an exploration of its future. Highly recommended!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Raymond W. Lembke on August 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book follows Lonely Planet's previous The Travel Book, and is generally similar in format. Unlike The Travel Book, this volume does not purport to be comprehensive. Rather, Lonely Planet has expressly made subjective judgments on which cities merited inclusion. US readers may be slightly surprised to see that cities like Boston, Denver, and San Diego were excluded while Memphis, Tennessee and Austin, Texas were included. Of course, like The Travel Book, the text descriptions of things representative elements of each place are inherently subjective. These comments should not be taken as criticisms. This is an appealing book for some armchair travel and could well motivate some actual travel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Valerie J. Saturen VINE VOICE on November 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Initially, I bought this book as a gift for my brother, but once I looked through it, I found it so hard to part with that I ended up buying one for myself too. Although it doesn't quite measure up to the sheer bliss that is Lonely Planet's The Travel Book, this sleek coffee table book is chock full of stunning photography and interesting trivia about 200 cities around the globe. Admittedly, the rankings are subjective (the order is based upon the results of an online survey), but the cities included in the book are very diverse, and one doesn't need to put much stock in the rankings to enjoy vicariously wandering through each city.

One thing I couldn't help but notice: since the book is geared toward tourism, it tends to whitewash the horrible conditions existing in some of the cities it describes, leading to rather silly-sounding descriptions such as "Strengths: lovely foliage; friendly people; excellent coffee...Weaknesses: rainy weather; expensive golfing; land mines; summary executions; boring food." Also, you can tell things are bad in a given city when it receives a Gold Star for "optimism."

With the holidays approaching, The Cities Book makes an excellent gift...and you may consider buying one for yourself.
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