Sunday, July 1, 2007

WHAT: "1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die," by Patricia Schultz (Workman, $19.95)

TARGET AUDIENCE: Americans with one eye on the map, the other on the actuarial tables.

So you're asked to come up with 1,000 must-see places in the United States and Canada. Would you have to stretch, fleshing out the list with doorknob museums and outlet malls? Not at all, Schultz proves. In fact, the problem is holding it to 1,000. Thus Schultz -- whose previous tome "1,000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveler's Life List" covered the entire world -- breaks hearts by omitting some worthy attractions (James Madison's Montpelier mansion, for one) and combines others, producing entries such as "Philly Food," "Pittsburgh's Steel Heritage" and "High-Country [North Carolina] Ramble." And do the math: 1,000 places, 1,069 pages of descriptions -- she doesn't have room go into depth on any one thing. Yellowstone gets only two pages, for pity's sake. But the book works well for what it is: a long, long wish list, sprinkled with tips and admonitions, the most important of which is, "Never pass up the homemade pie."

-- Jerry V. Haines

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