Book Review of the Week: One People many journeys

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

Published by Lonely Planet, One People many journeys explores global intercultural themes through eight different aspects of the universal human experience.

Extraordinary photographs are combined with eight thoughtful essays on things that all of us go through in our lives:


This book was the winner of the 2006 Independent Publisher Award in the Coffee Table Book Category, and I can see why. We've looked at it every day since we got it - and our daughter spends hours perusing the photos, looking for similarities and incongruencies in cultures around the world.  

The editors were very creative (and sometimes ironic) in the placement of the photos. Each photo matches, or juxtaposes, the photo on the opposite page. A desolate photo of empty shelves in Russia contrasts strongly with the photo on the opposite page, where a smiling boy points at fully-stocked shelves in Algeria.

A gorgeous photo of restless young boys in Mozambique is mimicked by the opposing photograph of a row of somber old men in India.

A stunning pair of photos contrasts the global views of young women and virginity  - from South Africa, there is a photo showing bare-breasted teenage Zulu girls that have passed a virginity test, proudly displaying certificates and white paint dots on their foreheads.  Opposite this is a photo of a Columbian man with several young women, each one wearing a traditional cocora - leaf hats designed to encourage chastity from puberty until marriage.

Each photograph provides much opportunity for reflection on themes of universality and life choices and traditions in different cultures. Each time that I look at this book, I get lost in thinking about cultural differences and the beauty of the world.

Whether as a gift for a loved one, or as a treasure for yourself, this book is a lovely and thought-provoking addition to any library (our personal travel library is getting larger by the week!).



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Comments (1)

  • Glinda

    14 years 3 weeks ago

    This book is very interesting on many different levels. Even just for casual browsing, it provides much food for thought.

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