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“This careful, detailed book should be required reading for any retiree considering moving to a better area . . . . You won’t find a better retirement book than this one.” —Robert J. Bruss, nationally syndicated real estate columnist
About the Author
John Howells is the author of coauthor of several books for Globe Pequot Press about retirement locations, including Choose the South, Choose Mexico, and Choose Costa Rica, and he writes for magazines such as Consumers Digest and Where to Retire.
First: If you live in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Montana or most of the other northern or midwestern states, love it there, and have little desire to relocate, this book may not be useful to you. John Howells is primarily writing for people who are looking to move to states with either milder climates, seacoasts, special geographical features, or some combination of those elements. He's absolutely up front about his, and in fact a quick perusal of the table of contents reveals that Florida and California receive detailed attention as do Arizona and Texas. The Southern Coastal states from the Virginias to Georgia, the Gulf Coast states from Alabama to Louisiana and the Midsouthern Hill states including Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma are represented and another section covers the Western Mountain and Desert states, including Nevada, Mew Mexico and Utah. A pleasant surprise to this reader was the inclusion of the Pacific Northwest - Oregon and Washington -, great states for outdoors people and wine lovers. Rounding out the book is a chapter on Snowbelt States: Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Colorado and Idaho.
Enough states - and a wide enough variety of states - are covered in this book to provide the reader with lots to compare. In addition to geography and climate, Howells considers a number of other factors including safety, housing costs, social (cultural) compatibility, vibrancy of local downtown areas and so forth. I read this book cover to cover and found it to be full of insights worth pondering to anyone beginning with the question, "If I could move, where would I want to move to?"
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First, I agree with Donachy's review just previous. Please read on for a distinction.
Having bought and read many of Howells' previous books I looked forward to seeing this revision. Based on the release notes I anticipated a complete update, with information on places that afford a 'community' for retirees. Admittedly, what I was looking for was an updated version of a different book, the best retirement places book I've seen to date, now dated ... http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Retirement-Revised-Ultimate/dp/1594864799/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331853960&sr=1-1
Unfortunately, Howells' revision appears to be minimal. Data has been refreshed but the book does not appear to have updated commentary and descriptions. It also lacks information on retirement communities which is included in Cullinane's book (not Sun City - though that's an option - but independent communities for retirees found attractive). I'm disappointed by what is missing.
Having skimmed the revised book, I'll be donating it. If you are new to searching for retirement places it may prove a starting point. I also suggest Retirement Places Rated (useful data). Cullinane's book is a better choice even years old. Once past the superficial, with data in hand, Cullinane's book is a useful guide to send you on your merry way. It lists web references. And the web is your friend. Go to the sites. Pull down menus within town/community sites. Look at as many pictures as you can find (you can't travel everywhere, can't see everything). Sad but in the context of the web Howells' revised edition book is lacking in descriptions, details, and references. It still fails to include an important component for consideration of future retirees ... retiree friendly living communities.
My rating is balanced. The original Howells' books were once valuable. Now they are out of date.
The only picture in the entire book is on the front cover. There are no diagrams, There are no graphs comparing one place to another. There are scant three or four line boxes that show average high and low temps for a particular place, and average rainfall. I didn't find that to be very accurate, having lived in one or more of those areas reviewed. Summer in San Antonio is HOT and you can't get by with a swamp cooler or opening your windows at night. It is humid and the heat seems unrelenting. (And it is NOT appreciably cooler in the Hill Country, though it is lovely.)
I get the feeling that this book was written by someone who never got off their couch and just did a lot of research and came up with a book of their own. I contacted the seller about a refund and although they said they would reimburse the purchase price of less than $8, they won't give a full refund, which includes shipping. So, if you paid $4 to ship the book and then pay $4 to send it back, you're just chasing your tail.
So I will keep the book and probably give it as a gift to someone I don't know all that well or care all that much about. I'll just keep my ears pealed for someone looking to move. If anyone reading this is truly serious about diving into reams of information and really packing your bags, look for the most recent Places Rated Almanac. I think there's one called, "Places Ranked and Rated" too.
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