The Wise World Traveler


What if you could travel abroad with the perfect companion, one who could tell you about the most exciting places around the globe as well as how these places connect to the world and to you? In The Wise World Traveler, renowned authors, professors, and travel guides James E. Harf and Lawrence J.R. Herson become the travel partner you’ve always wanted, whether you’re a university student, a senior citizen on a cruise ship, or a parent educating young children through global travel. With their entertaining, accessible style, the authors share history, legends, and fun facts, like where the ancient city of Troy actually is (and the drama around who discovered it), how the city of Venice influenced the naming of Venezuela, and where expressions like “kow tow” come from. They also cover more general historical changes, such as how the Renaissance transformed western civilization forever and how the sugar trade influenced everything from slavery to the American Revolution to the civil rights movement of the late twentieth century. Going far beyond conventional guidebooks, Herson and Harf pinpoint the concepts that help travelers get the most out of the countries and cultures they visit. They help us understand things like the relation between geography and government–for example, why despotisms tend to develop in countries with vast expanses of flat terrain. And they highlight overarching issues that help us appreciate unfamiliar cultures, like the fundamental questions that all religions try to answer. The Wise World Traveler does more than place exciting locales in cultural and historical context; it shows us the radical difference between the ordinary and the wise traveler: If we truly learn what we are seeing, we become a part of all that we meet. And in the process, we gain wisdom about ourselves.