Top critical review
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Good idea, but lacks consistency and balance (also, still annoyingly snobbish)
on January 7, 2015
I flipped through the first edition many years ago, and had a good laugh at how many expensive hotels and restaurants were counted among the 1000 places. In the second edition, Schultz has attempted to rectify this problem by merging many of these places into a single city or region. However, the merging is not done consistently. Some cities, such as London and New York, are now listed as only one item in Schultz's list, with individual landmarks and sites listed within each entry. Other cities, however, are still spread out over multiple entries, like in the first book. For example, Dublin covers 3 entries (Edible, Historical, and Literary Dublin), and Shanghai covers 2 entries (The Bund and the Shanghai Museum). Milan covers 4. Some countries are also organized in the wrong section - Greece and Cyprus are in the Western Europe part of the book, between Germany and Italy.
The other problem with the book is the lack of balance in covering the different regions of the world. The back cover informs the reader that 28 new countries have been added compared to the first edition, which is an improvement, but some regions are still very much over/under-represented relative to others. Britain and Ireland (0.2% of the world's land area and 1% of the world population) together take up 74 entries in the book. In comparison, India and China, which are much larger countries with greater geographical diversity, longer history, and far more UNESCO world heritage sites, only get 40 entries in the book - combined. I'm sure that all of the places recommended in the book for Britain and Ireland are wonderful places worthy of visit, but when making a list that's supposed to cover the entire world, the author needs to pay special attention to fairly representing every country and region of the world.
Finally, the snobbishness is still present in spades. Schultz continues to consistently recommend the most expensive hotels and restaurants in practically every part of the world. The entry for Istanbul (which is covered quite well, actually) lists 7 options for places to stay. The second-cheapest one runs at a cool $385. If I had to choose 7 accommodation options for a large city, I would probably suggest at least 2 upscale options, 2 mid-level (which I define as $100-250), and 2 budget options. I don't need a travel book to tell me that the most expensive hotel in town is probably a nice place to spend the night. With her apparent motto of "the more expensive the better" I should expect Outer Space to be one of the entries in the next edition of this book, what with its $100 million price tag. On the other hand, there's no Four Seasons or Park Hyatt hotel there, so maybe not.
This book is useful for travel ideas, and makes for an entertaining read about places you might not have heard of. But unfortunately, it often feels like an amateurish copy+paste job.
Trivia note: I counted that there are actually 1012 places in the book.