Duden, Wörterbuch geographischer Namen des Baltikums und der Gemeinschaft Unabhängiger Staaten (GUS): mit Angabe zu Schreibweise, Aussprache und Verwendung der Namen im Deutschen = Duden, Dictionary of Geographical Names of the Baltic States and of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) [: with Instructions for the Orthography, Pronunciation, and Use of the Names in German]. Comp. Hans Zikmund for the Ständiger Ausschuss für Geographische Namen (StAGN). Mannheim [et al.]: Dudenverlag, 2000. , 862 p. 20 cm. ISBN 3-411-70591-4: DM 148.00 [01-1-137]
In the Duden Wörterbuch geographischer Namen: Europa (1966) [Duden Dictionary of Geographic Names in Europe], the Soviet Union was intentionally excluded as too vast, and thus reserved for a separate volume. The current work comprises 30,000 entries covering the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the three Baltic republics. Even so, this number represents only a selection of the possible entries, for recent political upheavals and the enormous multiplicity of languages create formidable complexity in the material. The source bibliography is in itself of great value, and the appendix gives a useful guide to the administrative units of the area. A list of the alphabets of individual languages provides their transliteration and German transcription, as well as an indication of pronunciation. Although the introduction is also in English, the work is specifically intended for the German user, employing German print and transcription conventions. The major criticism is that, in place of cross-references, information for geographic entities with equally accepted names in two languages is entered in its entirety under both forms of the name, which may sometimes be confusing to the user. In all, this is an important, long-awaited reference work that will make dealing with geographic names of the Baltic and the CIS much easier. [hdw/mjc]
Lexikon der Weltbevölkerung: Geographie, Kultur, Gesellschaft [Dictionary of the World's Peoples: Geography, Culture, Society]. Heinz-Gerhard Zimpel. Ed. Ulrich Pietrusky. Berlin [et al.]: de Gruyter, 2001. xix, 615 p. 25 cm. ISBN 3-11-016319-5: DM 298.00 [01-1-138]
This dictionary, compiled posthumously from the notes of the late human geographer Heinz-Gerhard Zimpel of Munich, contains "more than 17,000" entries for population groups. The entries are marked to indicate their affiliation with the following nine themes, which indicate the breadth and variety of the terms: anthropological/biological groupings, such as racial or disability groups; ethnic groups, tribes, and peoples; nationalities; religious groups; users of a written language; sociocultural groups, including derogatory words for various groups; linguistic communities; scientific, demographic, administrative, and legal terms; and political territorial units, present and historical. The choice of terms was based on the "ongoing study of the subject literature and the modern media." Each entry contains the word's etymology, German synonyms with non-German-language equivalents, notes on the denotation, and cross-references. For territorial entries, some key demographic statistics are also included. Although there are no footnotes, the dictionary does have a list of consulted works. [sh/rb]
Kartographische Sammlungen in Berlin: Geschichte, Standorte, Informationen [Map Collections in Berlin: History, Locations, Information]. Ed. Lothar Zögner. Gotha: Perthes, 2001. 127 p. ill. 24 cm. (Kartensammlung und Kartendokumentation, 12). ISBN 3-623-00436-7 DM 38.00 [01-2-437]
A compendium on cartographic holdings in Berlin in all their variety has long been a desideratum. This volume also heralds a revival of the series Kartensamlung und Kartendokumentation, which seemed to have lapsed with volume 11 after its move to Perthes. The volume is divided into two parts. First, seven map collections are introduced in detail (including the ones at the State Library, the Secret State Archives, and the Regional Archive). The descriptions vary significantly in organization and contents, partly due to great differences among the collections. There is consistently an emphasis on the history of the collections. One would like to know more about developments since reunification, for example the difficult rejoining of collections from east and west at the State Library. In the last chapter Gudrun and Lothar Zögner describe the globes in Berlin collections and offer a useful inventory. The appended alphabetical directory documents 39 collections (of which one, at the Institut und Museum für Meereskunde, no longer exists) in 21 pages. The university collections are listed separately. In addition to general directory information, there is in each case a more or less detailed description of the collection. Unfortunately the details of service hours were gathered in 1998-1999 and not updated. Sometimes even the name or address of an institution has changed. Therefore one should always check the State Library's Internet overview of map collections in Berlin and Potsdam at <http://karten.sbb.spk-berlin.de/sammlungen/index.htm>. The volume has a name, subject, and geographical index. [hdw/gh]
Alte Thüringer Landkarten 1550-1750: und das Wirken des Kartographen Adolar Erich [Old Thuringian Maps 1550-1750, and the Influence of the Cartographer Adolar Erich]. Gunter Görner. Bad Langensalza: Rockstuhl, 2001. 176 p. ill. 22 cm. "Übersicht über bis zum Beginn des 19. Jahrhunderts im Druck erschienene Landkarten von Thüringen sowie dessen Teil- und Randgebieten" [Overview of Printed Maps of Thuringia and Surrounding Areas to the Beginning of the 19th Century], p. 123-160. ISBN 3-934748-83-X: EUR 15.50 [01-2-441]
The publisher specializes in local history and the reprinting of historical maps; this original publication is intended as a companion to the facsimile reproduction of Adolar Erichs' early 17th-century Thyringischer Mapp and treats old Thuringian cartography in about 80 pages. Emphasis is on the aforementioned map, considered exemplary into the 18th century, and the biography and written work of its creator. The map is also treated in the context of Thuringian cartographical history, which explains the cumbersome title. Though the presentation is unprofessional--including a lack of a bibliography or indexes--the content is solid. The chronological list of 134 printed maps of Thuringia is particularly useful and extends from the oldest known woodcut map of the Thuringia-Saxony region (1550) to the introduction of survey maps (1868). The list is primarily meant to illustrate cartographical developments but goes beyond works like Rübesame's 1987 catalog for the University and State Library of Saxony Anhalt, Alte Landkarten Sachsens und Thüringens [Old Maps of Saxony and Thuringia]. In addition to the year, title, creator, place, and size, the author points to unique characteristics of each map and connections among them. Information about holding libraries would have been helpful, inasmuch as most of them are not accessible through the Old Map database at <http://ikar.sbb.spk-berlin.de>. [hdw/mm]
Ganz Berlin: Spaziergänge durch die Hauptstadt [All of Berlin: Walks through the Capital]. Ed. Hinnerk Dreppenstedt and Klaus Esche. Berlin: Nicolai, 2001. 512 p. ill. 21 cm. ISBN 3-87584-050-X: DM 39.90 [01-2-444]
This guide is a welcome complement to the two major Berlin guides for art lovers, Berlin (München; Berlin, 2000) and Kunstführer Berlin (Reclam, 1991), which are almost intimidating in the vast array of their offerings. Ganz Berlin describes actual walking tours through Berlin's neighborhoods, with small maps and black-and-white illustrations that encourage the visitor to explore the city off the beaten path. Together with either of the major guides mentioned above, it suggests a new way of getting to know Berlin to those who are willing to take the time to walk. [sh/rs]
Europäische Reiseberichte des späten Mittelalters: eine analytische Bibliographie [European Travelogues of the Late Middle Ages: An Analytical Bibliography]. Ed. Werner Paravicini. Frankfurt am Main: Lang. 23 cm. (Kieler Werkstücke: Reihe D, Beiträge zur europäischen Geschichte des späten Mittelalters, ...). [01-2-445
Pt. 1. Deutsche Reiseberichte [German Travelogues]. Ed. Christian Halm. 2d rev. and exp. ed. 2001. 563 p. (..., 5). ISBN 3-631-31818-9: DM 148.00
This is the second edition of part 1 of a three-volume bibliography, first published in 1994. Essentially, it is a reprint that has been supplemented with 35 pages of addenda. The addenda offer some new material, some of it in reaction to reviews. Unfortunately, the suggestions and corrigenda of the most detailed and critical review, concerning in particular numerous inaccuracies in the bibliographic description of incunabula, were not integrated into this revision. It is questionable whether a 35-page supplement, which could have been published in the form of an article, justifies the purchase of this fairly expensive book. [sh/rs]
An RREO Original Review Special Report: Travel Guides to Germany and Italy
Reference Reviews Europe Annual lives up to its name by reviewing reference books from Europe, or books from elsewhere about Europe. The editors emphasize the inclusion of titles that might escape the notice of Anglo-American librarians. This Original Review Special Report breaks tradition only in that most of the 22 imprints covered here are English-language titles. RREA's goal, however, remains true: European travel guides rarely receive attention, but are of interest to the users of both academic and public libraries.
Although only Germany and Italy are featured, the report is still relevant for librarians wanting to collect guides for other European countries, because several series are reviewed which offer other titles, and are so noted below.
The report groups titles into three broad categories--country travel guides, city or regional guides, and specialized guides--and concludes with purchase recommendations for both academic and public libraries.
Fodor's Germany. New York: Fodor's Travel.
2001. Ed. Christina Knight. 688 p. maps. 23 cm. ISBN 0-679-00568-4: $21.00
Frommer's Germany. New York: IDG Books Worldwide.
2001. Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince. 660 p. maps. 21 cm. ISBN 0-7645-6139-1: $20.99
Germany. 3d ed. Watford, England: Michelin Travel, 2001. 557 p. ill. maps. 24 cm. (Michelin Green Guide). ISBN 2-06-000008-4: $20.00
Germany. Joanna Egert-Romanowska and Malgorzata Omilanowska. London; New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2001. 576 p. ill. maps. 22 cm. (DK
Eyewitness Travel Guides). ISBN: 0-7894-6646-5: $29.95
Germany. Ed. Andrea Schulte-Peevers. 2d ed. Melbourne; Oakland: Lonely Planet, 2000. 912 p. ill. maps. 18 cm. ISBN 0-86442-788-3: $21.95
Let's Go: Germany. New York: St. Martin's Press.
2001. Ed. Paul C. Dilley. xv, 605 p. maps. 21 cm. ISBN 0-312-24676-5: $21.99
The Rough Guide to Germany. Gordon McLachan. 5th ed. London: Rough Guides, 2001. xiv, 1,126 p. ill. maps. 20 cm. ISBN 1-85828-706-5: $24.00
Seven of the leading travel guides are represented here. Fodor's, Frommer's, and Let's Go are annual serials, and the rest are irregularly updated, usually every two or three years. All seven publishers offer titles for both country and city destinations in Europe and worldwide. Two other leading country series, Blue Guide and Heritage Guide, are reviewed below for their city and regional guides (see RREA 7:262-263). Fodor's, Frommer's, and Rough Guide have large editorial teams working on their titles and ensuring consistency, whereas Blue Guide and Lonely Planet titles tend to be idiosyncratic, being the work of individual authors. As a result, the quality and consistency of various guides can vary a great deal, as will be noted below.
Fodor's is always the safest bet for the average traveler, and Fodor's Germany is no exception. The strengths of the volume are: multiple maps for major cities (dining and lodging, shopping, sites, and transit systems); the best restaurant recommendations (a selection differing from those in other guide books, and including establishments frequented by locals); and the greatest range of lodging (from the truly inexpensive to the truly expensive). Another nice feature is the "Good Walk" recommendation for each major city. Similar attempts by other travel guides result in walks appealing to the author alone; Fodor's, however, presents the most efficient ways to see a city and its sites. Also interesting are the "Great Itineraries" presented at the beginning of each chapter, offered in units of time: "If You have One Day," "If You have Two or Three Days." Travelers can trust the recommendations of what to see and when. Fodor's also does a good job of covering lesser-traveled paths, with smaller towns being given ample descriptions. For the driver, "En Route" sections offer scenic roads and notes on what to see out the window, and "Off the Beaten Path" sections suggest interesting detours, such as the house in Murnau where Wassily Kandinsky and Gabriele Münter lived for five years. Fodor's website (<http://www.fodors.com>) is the best among those reviewed here, because it provides the greatest amount of useful content. For example, for Munich there is an expansive lists of sights (16), restaurants (33), and hotels (29), all with useful descriptions.
Frommer's Germany presents the greatest number of restaurants and hotels among general country travel guides, as well as the longest descriptions, averaging over a hundred words. For each city, hotels and restaurants are conveniently divided into price categories, whereas the other guides usually provide an alphabetical list with price rankings. Frommer's also devotes space to shopping--six pages for Munich, including eight listings for fashion and five for crafts; and later an entire page for Bavarian wood carving shops. Considerable effort is made to mention family-friendly hotels and the gay scene. All the major guidebooks recently have provided information for gays and lesbians, but Frommer's is exemplary. For Munich five clubs are cited, ranging from the "macho and swaggering" leather club, Bau, to the "gay and neighborly" bar, Teddy-Bear. (IDG also publishes the book by David Andrusia, Frommer's Gay & Lesbian Europe, 2d ed. 2001, not reviewed here.) Another plus is that the book offers transit maps for major cities, a fold-out country map, and helpful floor plans of major museums. Frommer's probably fits best the needs of the group tour traveler or the traveler with limited time. Frommer's website (<http://www.frommers.com>) is good, but not as useful as Fodor's or Lonely Planet's websites; however, it does have some travel tips, itineraries, photographs, and miscellaneous resources.
Despite the prestigious reputation worldwide of Michelin, its Green Guide series achieves far from five-star status, although it does have many fans, especially among experienced tourists. Perhaps for this reason the content is average at best in comparison to other guides, and the breadth of coverage disappointingly brief. For example, when small towns are included, the descriptions are too short to be of any use, leaving the general tourist wondering why the place was mentioned at all. Yet the series does offer several useful features that may appeal to some. For example, sites are ranked, telling the reader exactly what is worth seeing. Also helpful are the "Enjoying your stay in..." sidebars that accompany major cities, listing general travel information and numerous entertainment and shopping opportunities, as well as the appendix that provides museum hours. Michelin's travel website (<http://www.viamichelin.com/>) is quite good, offering maps and driving directions, weather information, hotels, and more, but only for popular travel destinations in Europe.
The newest series to hit the market is DK Eyewitness Travel Guides, and at first glance it appears to be trying too hard to make a splash by means of assaulting visuals. Yet the Eyewitness Travel Guide to Germany, in its first edition and produced entirely in Warsaw, is a serious travel guide just as Oxford pictorial dictionaries are serious. The format of the book is completely visual. Museum descriptions include several photographs of major works of art, and arrows from these photographs point to the museum floor plan where the pieces are located. Even the general travel information section of the book contains numerous, helpful pictures: uniformed Die Bahn employees, ICE trains, Euro bills and coins, phones (with detailed instructions on how to use them), and scores more. This guide is best suited to the novice traveler or the first-time visitor to a location; however, all travelers might consider using these guides in the preparation of their trips--the photographs alone inspire trip itineraries. The publisher currently does not have a travel website.
Lonely Planet's Germany offers the largest city maps conveniently marked with hotels, restaurants, and other establishments. Descriptions of sites are disappointingly short, but to its credit these are more numerous than those of other country guides, and albeit brief, are to the point. It is the only guide to offer a thumb index for German states, an organization of restaurants by cuisine type, and a prominent mention of laundries. Coverage of clubs, music, and theater is also good, and it boasts the largest introduction at 163 pages. Despite its strengths, however, overall this volume disappoints in comparison with the other major country guides, most notably in its descriptions of sites, which are bland and uninspired. Unlike the other country series under review, this is the most uneven, with some volumes, like Romania & Moldova, being quite spectacular, depending on an author's research, attention to detail, and talent as a writer. The publisher truly excels, however, in specialized travel books, especially for walkers and hikers (see RREA 7:274 below). Lonely Planet has a website (<http://www.lonelyplanet.com/>) that offers additional travel information, recent advisories, a bulletin board ("The Thorn Tree"), reader postcards, and a good deal of updated content excerpted from their publications.
Formerly called Let's Go: The Budget Guide to ... , this series is the favorite of students and budget travelers. Given the target audience, Let's Go limits itself to listing campsites, hostels, and inexpensive hotels, but does not limit the number of entries--there are at least twice as many listings as in the average general country guide. Descriptions of these establishments also are comparable to the (too brief) industry-standard. Let's Go, thinking of its youthful readers, emphasizes entertainment. It is the only guide to mention cinemas and discos in detail, a plus, but the heading in Munich of "Beer, Beer, and More Beer" is tacky, if not irresponsible. Undoubtedly catering to stereotypical youths' short attention spans, the descriptions of important sites are brief to the point of unintelligibility. For example, Munich's Neue Pinakothek is described as "Sleek space for paintings and sculptures of the 18th to 20th centuries. Van Gogh, Klimt, Cézanne, Manet, and more." Let's Go: Germany contains no illustrations, and few maps--certainly a drawback for those backpacking co-eds--but does include transit system maps for the major cities (in duplicate inside each cover and convenient for easy tear-out). To its credit, the 84-page introduction is thorough, including practical suggested itineraries, a good introduction to Germany's history and culture (including two pages outlining German philosophy), and, among all the general country travel guides reviewed here, the most useful information about health and safety. Another plus is that the book is extremely lightweight while still having fairly good paper. Let's Go does have a website (<http://www.letsgo.com/>), but the content is mainly advertising for the guides and airline and rail ticket agencies.
Whereas Let's Go targets the budget and student traveler, Rough Guide caters to the moderate-spender, and to the adventurous. This British series also has a refreshingly honest approach (some would say "an attitude"). For example, in The Rough Guide to Germany, the entry for Kurt Weill's hometown of Dessau begins, "This historic capital of Anhalt.... These days, it's a bleak industrial city that has suffered from all the worst aspects of modern Germany--with post-unification blight the latest sorry episode in a list which began with horrendous wartime damage followed by drab Stalinist rebuilding." Rough Guide tells it like it is, also in its opinions of hotels, restaurants, and sites. The descriptions of major sites, like Munich's Neue Pinakothek, are the longest of any of the country guidebooks reviewed here, and are well-written and thoroughly researched (only Blue Guide and Heritage Guide being superior--see RREA 7:262-263 below). Other guides merely mention the names Gauguin, van Gogh, and Manet; but Rough Guide goes out of its way to describe the significance of Max Liebermann's Boys on the Beach, Carl Spitzweg's The Bookworm, and Franz von Stuck's Sin. For those who themselves like to go out of their way, The Rough Guide to Germany offers off-the-beaten-path adventures. For instance, it is the only country title here that covers the town of Freising, near Munich, providing two pages of description, listing over a dozen sights to see, probably the least interesting of which being the two Ruebens paintings in the Diözesanmuseum. These excursions are accompanied with amazingly explicit travel directions by various modes of transportation, whether bike, boat, bus, car, or rail. The volume is preceded and concluded by useful information: a 20-page survey of German history, a 15-page overview of German art, a three-page food glossary, and basic travel information. One of the more interesting aspects of any Rough Guide are the scores of fascinating sidebars scattered throughout, such as "Trier under the Romans," "The Krupp Dynasty," "The Beatles in Hamburg," and "Dinkelsbühl Folklore." Rough Guide is the most interesting, the most comprehensive, and the most useful guidebook on the market. Rough Guide's website (<http://www.travel.roughguides.com/>), however, is poor in comparison to their printed publications, offering little content, nearly useless destination and itinerary ideas, a paucity of travel tips, and unhelpful links to rental car and tour travel agencies.
Italy's Best-Loved Driving Tours. 5th ed. New York: IDG Books, 2001. 176 p. 22 cm. (Frommer's Driving Tour Guides). ISBN 0-7665-6365-3: $16.99
IDG Books, publishers of Frommer's general travel books, also offers specialized guides for the tourist traveling by car. Twenty-five tours in five regions are described. Each proposed tour is both practical and spectacular. For example, one Tuscan tour passes through Siena, Montalcino, San Quírico d'Orcia, Montepulciano, Arezzo, and Florence. Maps and directions are good, and the list of hotels at the back of the book is adequate. Lacking, however, are acceptable descriptions of sites. For example, Montalcino is described sparsely and blandly in two paragraphs as having many wine shops and two museums. The guide is excellent for its proposed itineraries, but suffers in every other way. Italy's Best-Loved Driving Tours' best fate is that it will at least be kept in the car. Frommer's driving series also includes titles on France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, and the U.S.
Fodor's Pocket Munich. Ed. Christina Knight and Denise M. Leto. 3d ed. New York: Fodor's, 2001. vii, 152 p. maps. 15 cm. ISBN 0-679-00715-6: $10.00
Florence. Alta Macadam. 8th ed. New York: Norton, 2001. 390 p. ill. maps. 19 cm. (Blue Guide; City Guide). ISBN: 0-393-32202-5: $22.95
Umbria. Ed. Anna Ferrari-Bravo. Milano: Touring Club of Italy, 1999. 240 p. ill. maps. 22 cm. (The Heritage Guide). ISBN 88-365-1458-8: $16.95
Fodor's Pocket Munich is truly pocket-sized, being the smallest guide on the market, but its third edition is not merely a condensation of the larger Fodor's Munich or Germany volumes. It has five maps, including Germany, Bavaria, Munich public transit, Munich sites, and dining, shopping, and lodging. Individual chapters cover topics such as sites, dining, lodging, and practical information. Descriptions for sites and businesses are surprisingly numerous and long. For example, over 20 restaurants are listed with the average annotation at 50 words. The surrounding towns of Ammersee, Dachau, Landshut, and Wasserburg am Inn also receive attention, with a few pages each of basic information. Fodor's Pocket Munich offers far more than some larger, country-wide guides in terms of breadth and depth of coverage. This guide will appeal to the traveler who wants a compact guide to the major attractions of the city. Yet those who desire more detailed information, or those who plan to spend more than a day or two in the city will want a larger guide. Fodor's also publishes pocket guides for a number of other European cities, including Berlin, Frankfurt, and Rome.
For travelers who want to make their trip educational, Blue Guides are the best on the market. Each title varies in style according to author, but the quality is consistent. General information and lists of hotels and restaurants are brief and sparsely annotated, but in every other way Blue Guides excel. Titles exist for countries, regions, and cities, but the city guides are particularly outstanding in relation to titles by other publishers, because of the amount of information provided and the attention to detail. Macadam's titles (Florence, Rome, Sicily, Tuscany, Umbria, Venice, and Northern Italy) are perhaps the finest of all the Blue Guides. In Florence, 16 pages of detailed city and regional maps are included inside the back cover. Additional maps, such as of the ancient walls of Florence and the many museum maps, are scattered throughout the volume. The informative and accessible 18-page essay "The Florentine Renaissance" by Marco Chiarini, Director of the Pitti Gallery, opens the book and places the city's art in a historical context. Also included in the introduction are a Medici family tree, a dense, two-page, double-column glossary of art terms, and a helpful list of museums and their hours, followed by practical travel information. The bulk of the book concerns Florence itself, with a small portion devoted at the end to its environs. Macadam divides the Florence section into 21 separate chapters, or walks. Most readers will ignore the walks and use the guide as a reference book to the city and its sites. Each site is thoroughly detailed. For example, six pages are devoted to Santo Spirito, its history, architecture, and art objects; three to Ognissanti; and seven to the Boboli Gardens--other guidebooks treat these places in a page, and most in a single paragraph. The index to the volume is the most thorough of any guidebook, and it is also the only one to have an additional, separate index of artists. If any criticism can be made of the book and the series, it is that the type is small and difficult to read, ranging from 10-point for body text, to 8-point for notes and sidebars. Every traveler should take along on excursions a Blue Guide, but plan a trip as a whole with a Rough Guide. Unlike most other series, Blue Guide does not yet have a travel website.
The Heritage Guide series by Touring Club Italiano is, in terms of its Amazon.com sales rank, one of the least popular. Despite the lack of attention by the general public, Heritage Guides are popular among scholars. That the series is produced in Italy gives it considerable clout among archaeologists, art historians, and Italianists. Originally published in Italian for over a century under the series Guida d'Italia, in 1997 English editions began to appear. Like Blue Guide, Heritage Guide also offers regional and city guides, to date having published in English Florence; The Italian Riviera; The Italian Wine Guide; The Marches; Milan and Turin; Naples; Parma; Rome; Sicily; Tuscany; Umbria; and Venice. (Unlike the other county, city, and regional series reviewed in this report, Heritage Guide is the only one that offers titles only on Italy.) The 26-page introduction to this first edition of Umbria is impressive, covering the region's history and culture from prehistory to the present. Particularly interesting is the discussion of Umbrian geography, geopolitics, and mapmaking. The volume is heavily illustrated without distracting from the text. The photographs themselves are among the finest printed in travel books. They are thoughtful, descriptive, and unique--rock climbers, black truffles, Umbrian sweetbread, town squares, flora and fauna, folk art and festivals, and of course, art and architecture. Numerous sidebars fill the volume, providing fascinating details. One describes the tobacco industry and its assistance in drying wet books and documents from the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale after the Florence flood of 1966; another details the history of Umbrian printing, including the first printed edition of The Divine Comedy in 1472. The guide is designed much the same way as is the Blue Guide, with, in this case, eight suggested excursions. Each chapter is centered on a major town and its environs. Descriptions of sites are detailed, but not to the point of annoying the average reader with scholarly content. Maps are abundant, and include elevation contours, which are extremely helpful for travelers attempting walks to hill towns. Additional information about the Touring Club is available at <http://www.touringclub.it/>. The English section of the website is sparse and has not been updated in years; however, the Italian section is dense and fresh.
Bed and Blessings Italy: A Guide to Convents and Monasteries Available for Overnight Lodging. June Walsh and Anne Walsh. New York: Paulist Press, 1999. 222 p. maps. 21 cm. ISBN 0-8091-3848-4: $16.95
Cheap Sleeps in Italy: Florence, Rome, Venice. Sandra Gustafson. 3d ed. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1999. 336 p. maps. 23 cm. ISBN 0-8118-1839-X: $13.95
Der Varta-Führer: Hotels & Restaurants: Deutschland. Ostfildern: Mairs Geographischer Verlag.
2001. 1,132 p. ill. maps. 20 cm. + 1 CD-ROM. ISBN 3-89525-996-9: DM 59.00
Hotels-Restaurants: Deutschland. Clermont-Ferrand, France: Michelin. (Michelin Red Guide).
2002. 1,269 p. maps. 20 cm. ISBN 2-06-100186-6: $26.00
Bed and Blessings Italy, while still appealing to a wide audience, presents a region-by-region alphabetical listing of Catholic convents and monasteries offering accommodation to travelers. Each region is prefaced by a brief introduction of one or two pages, accompanied by a simple map of the region. The regions are further subdivided alphabetically by city, and then by establishment, totaling 131. Some cities are given a simple map noting convents and monasteries. Each establishment is given one page, providing a description of a hundred words, followed by information on number of rooms, meals, price (ranging from 20 to 150 Euro), payment methods (most are cash only), curfew (ranging from 10 p.m., to "flexible," to none), languages spoken (rarely English), amenities, and directions. Travelers who do not mind Spartan accommodations, but are looking for clean, inexpensive, quiet, and safe rooms will find this unique title welcome. There is no travel website related to this book.
The economical traveler will not want to judge Cheap Sleeps in Italy by its cover: many of the hotels listed cost over $200 per night, but these are noted as "big splurges," and are listed because they are a good deal, despite the high cost relative to the bulk of the listings, which are moderately-priced. Each city is given an introduction with useful information (doctors, embassies, currency exchanges, etc.), a map, a list of hotels and their prices, followed by descriptions of the hotels. The strength of the book is that each listed hotel is well-described in one or two pages, paying particular attention paid to the architecture, decor, service, and staff of each establishment. It is obvious from reading the entries that the author has selected the hotels for their charm as well as their economy. Phone, fax, e-mail, address, languages spoken, amenities, number of rooms, nearby attractions, and other useful information is provided for each hotel. The book concludes with a list of general shops for each city, a basic Italian-English glossary, and an index of hotels by city, both alphabetical and by price. One criticism of the book is that, in an attempt to look hip, or quaint, the city maps are hand drawn; but they are really just amateurish, and are difficult to read and use. No one will want to take this title along on vacation, but it will be invaluable at home for planning a trip. The author has also published Cheap Sleeps titles for Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville; Budapest, Prague, and Vienna; London; and Paris. Cheap Eats titles (not reviewed here) are available for London, Paris, and Spain. All these titles are updated every few years in a new edition. A website is available (<http://www.cheapeatssleeps.com>) but, outside of advertising for the books, contains only limited travel tips on eating and sleeping abroad.
Der Varta-Führer restricts itself to listing only hotels and restaurants--over 15,000 of them--and so will find a limited audience among tourists. The book has potential as a planning guide, but most general travel guides probably will suffice for hotel and restaurant information. Yet, one appealing aspect of Der Varta-Führer is that it contains listings for towns that most travel guides ignore altogether. The information provided for each establishment is basic: name, telephone and fax numbers, address, amenities, a price ranking from a low of one to a high of five, and, for a limited few, a photograph. Larger towns and cities have maps, although hotels and restaurants are not marked. Each municipality has its own entry providing the address, telephone, and fax number of the tourist information office. The volume itself is preceded by 66 pages of maps that detail the towns and cities included in Der Varta-Führer, and additional maps for Germany's highways, train lines, and ship and ferry passageways. A CD-ROM is included, but its value is questionable. The book itself is already in alphabetical order by city, and the alphabetical listing of establishments, even on Munich's 12 pages, is easy enough for the reader to use. The only advantage of the CD-ROM is that one can enter multiple variables to search for hotels or restaurants throughout Der Varta-Führer. The CD also offers an interactive map with links to hotel information and photos, as well as driving directions.
Similar to Der Varta-Führer, but far better known, is Michelin's Red Guide. Hotels-Restaurants: Deutschland lists over 20,000 establishments. Der Varta-Führer, which has 5,000 fewer entries, emphasizes hotels; the Red Guide includes many more restaurants. Hotels & Restaurants Deutschland 2002 lacks the photographs of Der Varta-Führer, but does have many more city maps, with all the hotels and restaurants conveniently marked. Red Guides explicitly complement the Green Guides: they use the same basic maps, with symbols in common, and both series are keyed to Michelin's wide range of auto maps. Given the polyglot introduction and notes, and the easy-to-understand symbols, the Red Guide clearly will appeal to a wider audience, even without flashy photographs and an interactive CD-ROM.
Of all the titles in this report, both Der Varta-Führer and Red Guide are the closest to being true reference books. They are, in fact, specialized business directories, and currently they do not have equivalents or alternatives online--many of the establishments listed in Der Varta-Führer and Red Guide do not have websites, nor can they be located in online general business directories.
The Christian Travelers Guide to Italy. Ed. David Bershad and Carolina Mangone. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001. 235 p. ill. 18 cm. ISBN: 0-310-22573-6: $16.99
Italy Jewish Travel Guide. Annie Sacerdoti and Luca Fiorentino. Tr. Richard F. De Lossa. 5th ed. Brooklyn: Israelowitz, 1999. 242 p. ill. maps. 24 cm. ISBN 1-87874142-X: $19.95
In recent years several new volumes with a religious emphasis have been published. Italy Jewish Travel Guide, originally published in Italy as Guida all'Italia ebraica (Casale Monferrato: Marietti, 1986), is written generally enough that it can be used by both Jews and non-Jews interested in the Jewish history and monuments of Italy. It is not intended to be a general travel guide--it has no hotel, no restaurant listings, no information to assist the traveler--but, instead, is designed to supplement other travel guides. The volume begins with a brief eight-page history of the Jews on the Italian peninsula, followed by chapters on each region, and subsections on larger cities within a region, each also prefaced by a Jewish history of the location. These chapters profile Jewish sites and artifacts like any other travel guide, and also list synagogues and kosher groceries and butchers. The book ends with a multilingual (mostly English and Italian) bibliography on Jewish history by region, a glossary for non-Jews, and Jewish population data by region. The publisher also offers Jewish travel guides for New York, the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, and Israel. The publisher's website (<http://www.israelowitzpublishing.com>) provides information only on guided tours of Jewish sites in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia.
The Christian Travelers Guide to Italy, like Italy Jewish Travel Guide, is intended to supplement other general travel guides by providing a Christian context and perspective on locations, monuments, and art. The book opens with an introduction to Italian history and an overview of Italian architecture, especially church architecture. The book is divided alphabetically, with a thumb index, into chapters devoted to each city, the longest of which, "Roma," is 30 pages; most chapters are approximately three pages. Each chapter begins with a history of the city, emphasizing Christian events. The rest of the chapter is subdivided into "places to visit." Each site description is almost entirely devoted to describing the Christian themes within art works. The real strength of the book is in its description of smaller tourist destinations, such as San Gimignano. The introduction to the town's history and the details about its art are far superior and more detailed than those of any other guide--most likely owing to the principal author's Ph.D. in art history from UCLA. The book is well-written and objective, and thus will appeal as well to the secular traveler interested in Italy's Christian history and art. The publisher also offers similarly-titled books on France, Germany, Great Britain, the Holy Land, and Rome. The series is supplemented by an excellent website (<http://www.christian-travelers-guides.com>) that provides additional general travel information and essays.
Eating in Italy: A Traveler's Guide to the Gastronomic Pleasures of Northern Italy. Faith Heller Willinger. Rev. ed. New York: William Morrow, 1998. 404 p. ill. maps. 21 cm. ISBN 0-688-14614-7: $20.00
A Traveller's Wine Guide to Germany. Kerry Brady Stewart. New York: Interlink, 1998. 152 p. ill. maps. 24 cm. (Traveller's Wine Guides). ISBN 1-56656-223-6: $17.95
Along with the proliferation of religious guides has come the ironic appearance of titles emphasizing the deadly sin of gluttony. One, Eating in Italy, first published in 1989 and now substantially revised and expanded, is interesting, but impractical. Like most guidebooks, its chapters cover regions, each having a general introduction followed by sections entitled "The Menu," "The Wine List," and "Regional Specialties," which provide a good overview of regional cuisine. Except for the introductions, this book probably will not be useful to the average tourist. Within each chapter are headings for each city in the region and a listing of restaurants, bars, markets, wine shops, and any other establishment related to food, with descriptions ranging from fifty to three hundred words. Unfortunately the quantity of listings is not much more than that of a general travel guide. For each town, at least one hotel is mentioned, but rarely more, and information is sparse--address, telephone, price range (vaguely categorized as "inexpensive," "moderate," or "expensive"), and whether or not credit cards are accepted. In other words, this book is not particularly useful. Moreover, it will not appeal to the gourmet because many quality, upscale restaurants are omitted, and the discussion of wine and food is too general. Yet, for the epicurean tourist who likes painstakingly to plan a vacation, Eating in Italy is worth a look, at least for a few restaurant ideas, and perhaps as well to photocopy the nice glossary of Italian food terms at the end of the book. There is no travel website related to this book.
A Traveller's Wine Guide to Germany offers something unique among the books described above. This book is less a travel guide than a beautifully illustrated handbook to the wines of Germany, although it does provide lists of wineries, maps, and driving directions. The book's chapters are divided among Germany's wine regions, and each begins with a general introduction to the region, its local history, information on grape varieties and soil types, and descriptions of wines and wineries. Curious facts about the history and architecture of establishments are sprinkled throughout and make for an interesting read, but certainly do not offer the detail found in a standard travel guide. For tourists who like wine and plan a driving tour through Germany, this book will enhance their trip. For the casual wine drinker who would like to learn more about German wines, the book offers an enjoyable introduction at a modest level of detail. It probably will not appeal to the connoisseur, but it does have the merit of being written by an authority on German wine residing in Germany. The author is a former employee of both the German Wine Institute and the German Wine Information Bureau, of which the latter's website (<http://www.germanwineusa.org>) nicely supplements, but is not affiliated with, the book (the publisher does not have a travel website). Interlink also offers similar titles for France, Italy, and Spain.
The Independent Walker's Guide to Italy. Frank Booth. New York: Interlink Books, 1998. 183 p. 20 cm. maps. (The Independent Walker Series). ISBN 1-56656-210-4: $14.95
Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria. James Lasdun and Pia Davis. vii, 367 p. maps. 20 cm. New York; London: Penguin, 1997. ISBN 0-14-026460-4: $16.95
Walking in Italy. Helen Gillman, et al. 1st ed. Hawthorn, Australia: Lonely Planet, 1998. 378 p. ill. maps. 18 cm. ISBN 0-86442-542-2: $17.95
The least useful walking guide under review here is The Independent Walker's Guide to Italy. The author recommends 35 walks over 16 days and so presents more a personal travelogue than a practical travel guide; but one can get some good ideas when planning a trip. The book covers only walks, with neither hotel nor restaurant listings. Many of the proposed walks are very good, and the routes and maps are thorough. The author also clearly states walk difficulty, distance, and duration, as well as information about toilet and refreshment availability on the trail. The publisher lists additional similarly-titled guides for France, Great Britain, and Ireland. There is no travel website related to this book.
Walking and Eating in Tuscany and Umbria would more appropriately be titled instead Walking in Tuscany and Umbria, because there is not much in the way of culinary content. The "Food" headings are for the purpose of feeding hungry hikers--pizzerias, bars, and plain restaurants, with little description and no address, telephone, or hours information. There is some basic information on hotels and other generalities, but the guide itself frequently directs the reader to "look in a general guidebook." Yet, the book's description of walks is good, from logistical information on how to get to countryside towns by bus, car, or train, to detailed notes on walks. A typical walk within the book is Fiesole to Maiano. Having a distance of only about three kilometers, the walk nonetheless has a full-page map with sites marked, and a dense page of annotation: "After 10 minutes, as you reach a concrete telephone pole, there's a path down to your right C..." (referring to the map). Some of the walks may be too long and difficult for the novice hiker (and for the out-of-shape), but there are no such indications in the book. There is an excellent introduction to walking at the front of the book, explaining what to bring and what to wear; still, this guide is better left to the experienced walker, who indeed will find the book useful and interesting. There is no travel website related to this book.
Lonely Planet, whose books for the general tourist can be inconsistent in quality, does produce excellent books for the adventurer. Walking in Italy covers six regions plus Sicily and Sardinia, offering several itineraries for each. The book begins with an exhaustive 102-page introduction covering travel generalities as well as information for the serious walker: fermo posta [poste-restante], illustrations and descriptions of common fauna and flora, clothing and packing advice, an equipment checklist, a medical kit checklist, summaries of "dangers and annoyances" (avalanches, lightning, insects, snakes, hunters, thieves), recommendations for immunization and health insurance, medical problems and treatments (altitude sickness, diarrhea, jellyfish, ticks, fractures, urinary tract infections, miscarriages), and search and rescue procedures. The chapter "Toscana" is typical of most. Five different tours are presented, each having a duration of three or four days. Transportation and accommodation information is provided, details on obtaining permits (absent in other travel guides that mention camping and hiking), plus additional equipment and clothing recommendations, additional warnings, and region-specific fauna, flora, and geological descriptions. Given the exhaustive detail in the narrative, the maps, which lack elevation contours, are disappointing. The book concludes with a thumb index to chapters, a helpful glossary and index, and metric conversion charts. The back cover boasts "spine stitched for extra strength," and its size is convenient for packing. In all aspects, this is the perfect guide for the walker. Lonely Planet also publishes backpacking, hiking, tramping, trekking, and walking guides (they actually distinguish between these modes of travel) for worldwide locations.
Recommendations for purchase:
The academic librarian should consider purchasing a number of the guides under review, as well as titles in their associated series. For example, Blue Guides and Heritage Guides, in addition to being travel guides, are also good sources for information about sites and monuments, and so are akin to reference books. Country and city and regional guides in the Blue Guide and Heritage Guide series will appeal to academics both for research and for travel. Similarly, The Christian Travelers Guide to Italy has potential for undergraduate research. On the other hand, this is sadly not the case for Italy Jewish Travel Guide, as it lacks a sufficient level of detail, though librarians interested in building a well-rounded collection of travel books for the sole purpose of supporting travel will want to purchase it. In addition, they will want to purchase country titles in the Rough Guide series as good, general travel planning guides, and titles in the Red Guide series by Michelin as exhaustive sources for hotel and restaurant information.
Selectors in public libraries, in addition to these recommendations for academic libraries, should consider acquiring country guides by Fodor's, city guides in the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides series, and the Traveller's Wine Guide titles in order to appeal to and meet the needs of larger, more diverse constituencies.
Whether for an academic or a public library, it is not necessary to purchase each new annual edition of Fodor's titles, because very little of the information is actually updated, even though patrons may be reluctant to use titles perceived to be out of date. Blue Guide, Heritage Guide, and Rough Guide titles are more sensibly, although only sometimes thoroughly, updated every two or three years.
Many of the remaining titles and series reviewed here either are surpassed in quality by other recommended guides, or simply will not appeal to large numbers of users, and therefore need not be acquired, but rather can be recommended for the individual's purchase.
Beau David Case (University of
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