THE AMERICAN GUIDE and GUIDE TO AMERICA-1949-50 Edition by Elmer-Ed. Alsberg Henry G.-Ed.; Jenkins


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It is unfortunate that these two books should be published simultaneously, as inevitably there will be a good deal of confusion in the public mind (as well as in the minds of dealers and public libraries). In so far as possible here are the points of similarity and difference.... The Hastings House volume will have the extra publicity attendant on its being a Book of the Month premium book- but the price will differentiate the market first and last. In size the books are almost identical, though in length the Hastings House book runs to almost 1400 pages as against about 700 pages in the Jenkins' book. Naturally, the Hastings House book, at about double the price, is a handsomer volume, with more elaborate maps- though no more in actual number. Where the Hastings House maps are regional maps, city maps, etc., the Jenkins' book has an individual map for each state, an outline map with places indicated, but no highways, waterways etc. shown. So much for general physical attributes. The Alsberg book includes special articles by feature writers on such topics as history, architecture, literature, music, Indians, labor, etc. by experts in the fields. It then follows the same general plan as the Jenkins' book, with the states separated. But where the Alsberg book groups the states in regional units, the Jenkins' book is a straight alphabetical arrangement, and within each state, the cities are arranged alphabetically, following general information within relatively small compass, data on history, geography, agriculture, animal life, industries, towns and cities, noteworthy sights, scenic landmarks, and so on. I found the descriptive text easier to read in the Jenkins' book, for the excessive use of abbreviations in the Alsberg book makes it seem wholly utilitarian. In spite of the fact that Mr. Jenkins is travel director of the AAA, his book seems less of a handbook for travellers than the other, where the actual arrangement and order of progression is based on travel routes. The Bibliography and the Index in the Jenkins' book makes it an easy handbook for ready reference. And at the price an extraordinary value. It has been brought up to date since its original publication in 1947.

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 1949
Publisher: Hastings House; Public Affairs Press