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CIA WORLD HANDBOOK 2013
on October 22, 2012
I just received my new CIA WORLD FACTBOOK 2013 and am happy to say it is everything prior reviewers have said about the 2012 version. An info freak's delight, this book in its 922 pages (not 960, as the Product Info. states) gives wonderfully detailed information about every nation in the world, even jurisdictions too small or politically compromised to have made it to the 2012 London Olympics. We learn not only the "World Almanac" type of basic facts like location, language and religion but also receive a brief typology of climate, how the nation came to be politically, "Political Parties and Leaders," "Political Pressure Groups and Leaders," what international organizations the country belongs to, what kind of diplomatic relations it has with the USA, an explanation of how the executive, legislative and judicial branches work, and a nearly exhaustive breakout of economics -- even where each country rates overall in terms of cell phone usage and paved airport runways.
Is there any other one-volume reference work so detailed? Not at this price, not that I know of. A couple of remarks: as prior reviewers have noted, the maps are perfunctory at best: muddy, black-and-white drawings that seem to have been photo-reduced from more useful cartography. Also, since the CIA is funded (one hopes) mainly by U.S. taxpayers, why was this volume printed in Canada?