April 01, 1996

Lonely Planet's Guide

Russia is such an immense country that no one travel guide can possibly hope to cover it all with distinction and detail. Yet Lonely Planet seems determined to die trying. The company’s new guide to the Slavic states is a weighty tome, tipping the scales at X lb. X oz. with over 1100 onion-skin thin pages of dense type.

Russia, Ukraine & Belarus is every bit as well-informed and detail-oriented as the company’s ill-fated USSR guide (which was being printed just as the Soviet Union abolished itself). It covers all the areas of concern expected of a tourist guide: visas, crime, health, history, phrases, etc. And it also covers an impressive breadth of cities and topics (including 25 pages on the trans-siberian railway and nearly 200 pages on Siberia and the Far East). The impressive collection of city maps alone is worth the price of the guide.

But breadth does not mean depth. While the extended coverage of Moscow and St. Petersburg (and much of European Russia) offers some of the best and most up-to-date tourist and travel information on these areas available, except in European Russia, only larger cities are covered. But then there are plenty of other specialized guides that cover these and other Russian regions in greater depth (watch this space). For now, this is the Russia guide to beat. (Lonely Planet, 1996 • $27.95, available at bookstores and through Access Russia, ph. 800-639-4301)

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