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Lonely Planet Central Asia Paperback – July 1, 2004
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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There were a few comments/inaccuracies that I noted and I called those to the Lonely Planet's attention. Despite this, this is probably the most useful reference for the English speaker -- at least for Uzbekistan. (If traveling in Almaty, I would first recommend the "Almaty Guide Millenium Edition" written by the Almaty International Women's Club.)
The only drawback is that the conversation guide is very limited (on purpose I guess), so if you don't speak any Russian, invest in a conversation guide for your trip.