HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Around the World in 2,000 Pictures
Editors: A. Milton Runyon and Vilma F. Bergane
Map illustrator: Rafael Palacios
Publisher: Doubleday and Company Inc., 1959
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: suitable for anyone
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Runyon, A. Milton, and Bergane, Vilma F. Around the World in 2,000 Pictures (published in 1959 by Nelson Doubleday and Company Inc., Garden City, NJ). Originally published in two volumes, Around the World in 1,000 Pictures (1954) and Around the U. S. A. in 1,000 Pictures (1955), this combined edition was published in 1959. When I was in high school, a friend of mine gave me a copy of this book, though I don’t remember now exactly why, whether it was a birthday present or what. But I do have a handwritten note on the inside front cover that says that it was given to me by Mike Stephens, who was my freshman year locker mate. So I’ve had it for nearly 45 years or so and just recently came across it again while getting my books out of storage.
The world tour begins in Great Britain and Ireland, then moves to Scandinavia, the rest of northern and central Europe (no nations then behind the Iron Curtain are included), and the Mediterranean. A “round-the-world cruise” takes in much of southern and eastern Asia (no Arab countries) and eastern and southern Africa. It continues with Bermuda and the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico and Central America, South America, and the South Pacific. “Around the U. S. A.” starts in New England, goes through the Mid-Atlantic, Midsouth, the old South, the Midwest, the Plains States, the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, California, and the Northwest, and concludes with Hawaii and Alaska.
Richard Joseph wrote in a foreword entitled “The Lure of World Travel” that “The photographs are arranged in a number of tours, following the same itineraries a traveler would take in seeing the world in a series of different trips. And they’ve been chosen to give you the best possible idea of what you’d actually see on your world travels rather than dealing with impossibly remote spots or esoteric subjects available to the correspondent and professional photographer but not to the average pleasure traveler.” In addition to the 2,000 pictures with their captions, there are longer articles before each section and shorter articles with each country to give a little detail. There are also maps for each section and an index for reference purposes. The black-and-white photos from various sources would be considered tame today in comparison with what one might find on the Internet, but as a lover of geography I spent many happy hours perusing this book, not only as a teenager but also as a young adult out of college when I didn’t have a television set to occupy my time. And even though it is obviously dated it could still serve a very useful purpose in a study of world geography.