Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Around the World in 1000 Pictures

Around the World in 1000 Pictures, 1954, Runyon and Bergane eds.

In 1954 there were still some unexplored corners of the world, and even adjacent states or provinces must have seemed far flung to most Americans, only to be experienced through newsreels and books. Around the World in 1000 Pictures was probably the first travel book I ever read-- or at least browsed. There isn't much text. I must have thumbed through it a hundred times as a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s. The brochure format and the descriptions might seem quaint by today's standards ("Monaco is 370 Acres of Gaiety"), but its musty pages still evoke a sense of wondrous adventure in ordinary life scenes of even outwardly familiar Canada and Mexico. And the rest of the then accessible Cold War world appears wrapped in mystery and exoticism that speaks to how new routes to the outside world were at that time. I marvel at how much the globe has shrunk since. This book gave me endless hours of youthful longing for faraway lands. I'm not sure who I inherited my hard-cover copy from, but the e-book can be checked out at the Open Library, and I've seen it on Amazon and EBay.