Monday, May 01, 2006

Countries for Grownups

We had someone looking for information about East Timor. We have one book, but it's not current enough (1998) for a country that was first internationally recognized as an independent state in 2002. What to do...

The first place to look (in printed material) for extremely detailed and concise information about any country, in impossibly tiny type, is the Europa World Year Book. It's updated annually, and is especially strong in a summary narration of recent history. (East Timor is in the T's, for Timor-Leste.) Countries of the World and their Leaders Yearbook is more accessible, and includes information from the State Department's Consular Information Sheets (though if things are changing, the Information Sheets are more current online). Another useful source for up to date information about countries is the World Today Series, provided the country is in one of the volumes we carry. For quick current facts about a country, even very tiny (or, from our point of view, obscure) places, try the online CIA World Factbook.

Tiny country? Try Vanuatu; or Akrotiri; or even Bassas da India, a French possession which goes 'awash' at high tide. The map is the coolest.

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