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The Rough Guide to the USA Paperback – April 4, 2011
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About the Author
Samantha Cook was born in London and has lived in the city, give or take a few spells wandering the globe, all her life. She is coauthor of such titles as The Rough Guide to London and The Rough Guide to Vintage London. Cook has been involved with Rough Guides for more than ten years.
Sarah Hull grew up in Massachusetts, which means she can use expressions like "wicked awesome" without getting embarrassed. She has been a contributor to Rough Guides for more than five years, working on the USA and Boston guides as well as a number of the 25 Ultimate Experiences books. When she's not on the hunt for the world's best cupcake, she is in the New York State Supreme Court reporting on corporate shenanigans and celebrity lawsuits.
Top customer reviews
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Everything, however, falls down with the image quality. The images are very small sizes and thus blurry at any size above a postage stamp. The maps are basically unusable, as the image quality is so bad that you cannot zoom in enough to actually read the street names and references from the text. Which basically means we will have to either download specific maps wherever we go, or buy local paper maps and carry them around too, which we were trying to avoid in the first place when we bought the kindle edition...
Am thinking of returning it, unfortunately, guide books aren't much use without the maps!
The other great thing about this guide is that it's written from a European (and emigrant American) perspective. You get a view on our geography (social as well as physical) that's quite refreshing. Also, the quick guides in the back: a compact history of the United States (which was brief, skeletal, but very interesting) and brief biographies of leading figures in North American history (which was interesting if only in their selections). A great road-trip read!
- Maps are few and poor. More often than not I found that major streets were missing, making orientation a hassle. So you have to juggle the guidebook and a separate map when walking through cities or driving around. Also, it would be very helpful to mark the recommendations on the maps in the book (which is rather rarely done), so you don't spend hours locating the addresses on the map.
- The guide does not always indicate price ranges for restaurant recommendations (especially in large cities). It is quite annoying if you travel across town to a restaurant (and spend some time on it if you don't have a car) to find that the dishes are... and up. For budget travelers, this guide might be difficult to swallow.
- There's some inaccurate info on hostels and their opening times. So you need to call ahead before you end up in front of closed doors. Also, price ranges for motels are way off.
- There is no section on dangers and annoyances for cities, a section that could be very helpful (although it sometimes warns of some dangerous areas in the text).
Also, the rough Guide might want to consider a better binding, as the book came apart after six weeks of usage. Overall, next time I'd rather go for another guide than this for a trip to the US.
Compared to Lonely Planet The rough guide is:
-not so funny to read
-of poorer quality (the back went broken in a week)
And worse: The maps are really bad, if they exist at all. And they do not point out sights, hotels, restaurants etc with numbers like they do in Lonely Planet guidebooks. Also it lacks on historical background which is very annoying for a person who have never been to the states. The section on dangers and annoyances is far from comprehensive. Distances are in miles...
I can continue with more annoyances but I think you'll get the point.
The only positive I can say about The rough guide to the USA is the price, it's cheap!