From Publishers Weekly
Spanning the world, from Northeast Europe to Southeast Asia, these 260 photos offer a spectacular view of regions of unimaginable, often haunting beauty. Many of the images, from the National Geographic Society's 10 million-image archive, have never been published before. Meditative introductions to each region of the world consider questions such as our stereotypical views of Asia and the ambiguity of evocations of the Middle East, their meaning "depending largely on what one believes." But the real attraction is the full-color photos: sometimes mysterious, like Karen Kasmaski's photos of sunflowers with Mount Fuji emerging from the shadows in the background; or playful, like Miguel Luis Fairbanks's woman driving in Australia with a young koala bear on her shoulder. Some are charming, like Steve McCurry's image of women in a field in Yemen, their hats bobbing above the lush clover; and still others present the natural world in an original light, like Anup and Manoj Sha's photo of a herd of zebras in Kenya, op-arty with its zigzags of black and white stripes. Not all the photos evoke pleasant images: the ravages of war in Croatia and the 2003 invasion of Iraq crop up, adding a dose of unhappy realities. Still, dipping anywhere into this volume offers a feast for the eyes and introduction to parts of the world most are unlikely ever to visit.
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This book is large: in format, in scope, in pages, and in its effect on the reader. Travel is all about place, of course, as this gorgeous album's subtitle indicates. The editors of National Geographic have culled from their archives a treasure trove of photographs, many never previously published, that evoke a certain moment in a certain small corner of the globe. The entire globe is the book's purview--all continents and every imaginable setting, from city to desert, and from a snowy national park to a birthday celebration in Mexico. A lovely book to savor forever. Robin Hoelle
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