Frommer's 500 Places to See Before They Disappear

The Smart Traveler

December 07, 2008|By Chicago Tribune

Frommer's/Wiley, $19.99

We shouldn't take the world for granted. That's the lesson gleaned from this book. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of places around the globe that are in dire straits or in danger of disappearing. The editors have assembled a daunting list of cultural, natural and historic sites that are under threat. Many of the places are well-known, such as the Everglades, which, according to the book, have lost 50 percent of their land because of agricultural and urban development, and the Grand Canyon, which is facing the risk of stream and groundwater contamination from cyanide and other chemicals.

But there are plenty of other places not as famous but just as significant and equally at risk. The guide mentions birds on the verge of extinction, such as New Zealand's national emblem, the kiwi. Also in danger are the stone figures on Easter Island, as well as such man-made sites as the Roman Colosseum and the Great Wall of China. Urban areas are also included, as well as iconic buildings. Throughout the book, the editors include numerous Top 10 lists. It's a fascinating if troublesome journey around the world.

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