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Weird U.S.: Your Travel Guide to America's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets Hardcover – October 4, 2004
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The first problem is that this is a compilation of many different authors and corespondents, giving the writing a very uneven and herky-jerky quality, something like Wikipedia. But the largest drawback is lack of a geographic index by state. When I am planning a trip, I need to be able to see which weird sites I can visit. Also, a travel guide should be compactly sized to fit in luggage, rather than this coffee-table sized hardback.
Given the problems above, I'll have to stick to the original offbeat travel guide, New Roadside America: The Modern Traveler's Guide to the Wild and Wonderful World of America's Tourist, a bit outdated, but a masterpiece of goofiness and still the best in the field.
This book gives you a trip around the country. No they didn't hit everything and sometimes they had to "rush" past something, but its a great starter course.
The "hints" they get from others about places to visit and the stories are great too.
If you enjoy this book, you'll love the other books in the series which give more details on specific states (written by different authors) and the 2nd book in US series.
There are some strange stories and people presented herein. Documented true stories of grisly murders, sightings of lights in the sky, and cryptozooilogical beasts.
I only have two complaints concerning this anthology of the odd. First, I wish it had more pictures. Second, I wish it was longer! I've read through it several times now. A lot of people have complained that this is not a "roadmap" to various eccentric sites across our fruited plains... but in these days of the internet... why waste the space in this book? I was able to look up many of the locations that appear in the book. I consider this a non-issue.
I need to get some more of the individual "Weird" books, which focus on individual states. Unfortunatley for me, "Weird Pennsylvania" focuses almost entirely on eastern PA. A lot of people have pointed this out.
It's filled with creepy urban legands, ghost stories, interesting cemeteries and abandoned places across the States. A lot of the text is submitted by outside parties who have experienced these places and phenomena, so while it might not be completely true, it's still a gripping read.
I will warn that some parts get pretty skin-crawlingly freaky, so I wouldn't reccomend this book for children or the faint of heart. On a dark and stormy halloween night, or when I'm bored and looking for something really interesting to read, I grab this book.