- Series: Moon Handbooks
- Paperback: 583 pages
- Publisher: Avalon Travel Pub; 2 edition (October 1, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1566911184
- ISBN-13: 978-1566911184
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,935,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Moon Handbooks Northern Mexico: Including the Copper Canyon Paperback – October 1, 1998
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Obviously, certain parts of the book are out of date. Listings of hotels and restaurants are only partially accurate and prices, of course, are meaningless at this point. Don't use this book to plan the practical aspects of your trip. Use it to plan your sights, and to inform you about more permanent features of Mexico's fantastic north. Ask yourself a relatively simple question: How much is this likely to have changed since 1998? If the answer is, "a lot," then this probably isn't the right book. If the answer is, "very little," then you've come to the right place.
Especially good are its treatment of outdoor attractions and the small towns. Sections dedicated to geography and wildlife are really well done. The author is obviously knowledgable and interested in these topics. Likewise, historical and cultural contexts are surprisingly complete and are excellent. These sections are not simply filler material, but add real value to the book. More than simply a travel guide, this book really does fulfill its purpose as a comprehensive handbook to the region. Don't expect flashy modern devices, such as color photography, maps or graphics. This book is all about the narrative content. You're not going to find anything like the thorough coverage of this region in any other current travel guide.
As I thumbed through the text in preparation for a trip from Nogales down to Hermosillo and Guaymas, it didn't take long to see why. Joe Cummings is several cuts above the typical travel writer. In addition to the usual thumbnail sketches of hotels and restaurants, there were sidebars on the curious plants and animals of the region, one page glossaries on branches of cuisine such as antojitos and agave liquor, and, to me most fascinating, short profiles of various aboriginal cultures that have been in Northern Mexico for centuries-the Seris, the Tarahumaras, the Huicholes, and even a group of Kickapoo who left Wisconsin in 1775 when they saw the neighborhood was going downhill, and who've lived in Coahuila ever since.
The pictures, small as they are, are superb. There are accurate maps of the entire region and of every state, and of all but the smallest of towns, and of the centers of cities. The first 132 pages are jammed with every sort of useful general information one can think of, from a short history of the area, to a discussion of the food, to tips on shopping, to a list of Mexican consulates on this side of the border. And, once you are in the state by state travel section of the book, those thumbnail sketches of hotels and restaurants cover a great many establishments, with the emphasis on the more economical ones, but occasionally straying into luxury.
The book winds up, as any good reference volume does, with a series of lists: airlines serving Northern Mexico, railway schedules, a Spanish glossary, and a thorough bibliography, where I saw two books that I'd read previously but which I never dreamed I'd see on the same page: A translation of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca's "Naufragios" and Suzy Gershman's "Born to Shop Mexico", which really shows how far the region has come since the 1530s.