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SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS

Extraordinary Cultures

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

Item EXWLD197. Buy these 3 items as a set for $57 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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Hope Diamond, The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem

Hope Diamond, The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem

by Richard Kurin

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 388 PAGES

Kurin's riveting book traces the centuries-long history of the legendary Hope Diamond from the diamond mines of India, through the violence of the French Revolution to Gilded Age America and beyond, looking at the true story behind one of the world's best-known gems. (IDA534, $15.99)

The Slave Trade

The Slave Trade

by James Walvin

  • HISTORY
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 144 PAGES

Photographs, paintings and contemporary maps give insight into the reality and global impact of the transatlantic slave trade in this lively entry in the History Files series. (ATL38, $24.95)

Kyoto, A Cultural History

Kyoto, A Cultural History

by John Dougill

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

A rich portrait and guide to the gardens, monasteries, art, history and culture of Kyoto, once Japan's capital, founded 1,200-years ago. (JPN178, $19.99)

 
World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Sites


by MapLink

  • MAP

This full-color folded map of the world (1:40 million) highlights UNESCO World Heritage sites. (WLD112, $8.95)

Love Jaipur, Rajasthan

Love Jaipur, Rajasthan


by Fiona Caulfield

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2012
  • BOXED
  • 172 PAGES

The exuberant Caulfield includes her favorite palaces and places, experiences, get-aways, markets, shops and must-sees in this rather remarkable, carefully curated hand-crafted guide. With sections on Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Agra and Rajasthan. Second edition. (IDA590, $50.00)

Odyssey Guide Bhutan

Odyssey Guide Bhutan


by Francoise Pommaret

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 326 PAGES

An authoritative overview of the kingdom, enhanced by color photographs, well-chosen literary excerpts and many maps, this guide by Bhutan expert and ethnographer Pommaret is exceptionally good. With a general introduction to the history, geography, economy, flora and fauna, festivals and the arts. (BHU03, $23.95)

The Pocket World Atlas

The Pocket World Atlas


by Oxford Univ. Press

  • REFERENCE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 160 PAGES

You can't go wrong with this inexpensive pocket atlas, which includes city plans, country maps, gazetteer, index, time zones and basic statistical information on countries worldwide. (GEN104, $16.95)

Geography of Religion: Where God Lives, Where Pilgrims Walk

Geography of Religion: Where God Lives, Where Pilgrims Walk


by Susan T. Hitchcock | John Esposito | Desmond Tutu | Mpho Tutu

  • RELIGION
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 416 PAGES

A handsomely photgraphed tour of the five major world religions and the places that each one holds most sacred. (REL05, $24.00)

Mughal India, Splendours of the Peacock Throne

Mughal India, Splendours of the Peacock Throne


by Valerie Berinstain | Paul Bahn

  • HISTORY
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 159 PAGES

This illustrated pocket guide presents the history, culture and splendor of the Mughal court and its celebrated architecture in hundreds of archival photographs and drawings. (IDA50, $15.95)

The Blessings of Bhutan

The Blessings of Bhutan


by Russ and Blyth Carpenter

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 192 PAGES
  • HARD TO FIND ELSEWHERE

Head-over-heels in love with Bhutan, the Carpenters introduce their adopted home, its people, customs, religion and history. (BHU16, $26.99)

The Raven Crown

The Raven Crown


by Michael Aris

  • HISTORY
  • 2005
  • HARD COVER
  • 160 PAGES

Michael Aris chronicles the rise of the Wangchuk dynasty in this beautifully illustrated history of the kingdom and its 20th-century monarchy, featuring 106 rare photographs. (BHU02, $60.00)

The Art of Setting Stones & Other Writings from the Japanese Garden

The Art of Setting Stones & Other Writings from the Japanese Garden


by Marc P. Keane

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 196 PAGES

In these lyrical essays, Kyoto resident and landscape architect Marc Peter Keane uses eight Japanese gardens as bases for essays on nature, religion and aesthetics. His rich, meditative excursions find beauty in garden composition - every element gaining importance and interconnectedness. (JPN124, $16.95)

100 Journeys for the Spirit

100 Journeys for the Spirit


by Pico Iyer

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2010
  • HARD COVER
  • 240 PAGES
  • OUT OF PRINT

Pico Iyer, Jan Morris, Paul Theroux, Alexander McCall Smith and Michael Ondaatje all contribute to this beautifully illustrated, hand-picked selection of temples, cathedrals and monasteries, parks and other soulful places. (TVL516, $29.95)

A House in Bali

A House in Bali


by Colin McPhee

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 213 PAGES

A warm tribute to the people, culture and especially the music of Bali in the 1930s. It's a literary classic, originally published in 1944. (BAL15, $20.00)

Madcap May, Mistress of Myth, Men, and Hope

Madcap May, Mistress of Myth, Men, and Hope


by Richard Kurin

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2012
  • HARD COVER
  • 224 PAGES

Drawing on the resources of the Smithsonian, Kurin rescues from oblivion the extraordinary "Madcap" May Yohe, a popular entertainer, businesswoman, socialite, and impetuous traveler. (USA473, $27.95)

Sacred Places of a Lifetime

Sacred Places of a Lifetime


by National Geographic Society

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2008
  • HARD COVER
  • 400 PAGES

Lake Atitlan, Devil's Tower, Tikal, Stonehenge, Temple Mount and Angkor Wat are included in this expansively photographed survey of 500 of the world's mountains, monuments, temples and other places with the power to transform. (TVL458, $40.00)

Sun After Dark, Flights into the Foreign

Sun After Dark, Flights into the Foreign


by Pico Iyer

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 240 PAGES

A splendid collection of reports from the field, ranging from Bolivia to Cambodia, Tibet and Arabia, by the engaging Pico Iyer -- an inveterate traveler and talker, pulling in people and encounters in settings that range from the Altiplano to the Arabian desert and Easter Island. (TVL33, $16.00)

The Art of Travel

The Art of Travel


by Alain de Botton

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

A digressive riff on desire, happiness and how best to experience travel by the Proust scholar and philosopher Alain de Botton who asks: "What is the point of traveling?" (TVL13, $16.00)

The Eaves of Heaven, A Life in Three Wars

The Eaves of Heaven, A Life in Three Wars


by Andrew X. Pham

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES

Pham recounts the story of his father's life during the French occupation, Japanese invasion and the American War, weaving such momentous events with anecdotes from his childhood and details of family, friends, food and daily life. (VNM120, $16.00)

Among African Apes

Among African Apes


by Christophe Boesch | Martha Robbins

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2012
  • PAPER
  • 196 PAGES

Robbins and Boesch tell the compelling stories of wild apes and the researchers who study them, including field research in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, Ivindo National Park in Gabon and the Tai National Park in Cote d'Ivoire. With some photographs. (UGD25, $21.95)

Among the Great Apes, Adventures on the Trail of Our Closest Relatives

Among the Great Apes, Adventures on the Trail of Our Closest Relatives


by Paul Raffaele

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 370 PAGES

Acclaimed nature journalist Raffaele's epic journey to survey the last remaining great apes living in the wild takes him from the orangutans of Borneo to the central African highlands where he gets up close with mountain gorillas, chimps and bonobos. (SCI306, $15.99)

Gorillas in the Mist

Gorillas in the Mist


by Dian Fossey

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 326 PAGES

Fossey's highly personal, detailed account of the ecology and behavior of the mountain gorilla of Virunga based on her 13 years among "the greatest of the great apes." (UGD05, $15.95)

In the Kingdom of Gorillas, Fragile Species in a Dangerous Land

In the Kingdom of Gorillas, Fragile Species in a Dangerous Land


by Bill Weber | Amy Vedder

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES

A gripping account of conservation, ecology and politics in Rwanda's Virunga Mountains by the husband-and-wife team who worked with Dian Fossey in the 1970s. (UGD11, $23.99)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.