Time introduces its Great Places of History ($29.95) coffee table book as a “wheredunit, a GPS approach to the human saga,” but after a moment flipping through its 154 pages of famous ruins, little-known monuments and revolutionary cities, I have another take. This is a travel junkie’s to-do list, a guide to a lifetime of worthy journeys in juicy photos and full-color inspiration.
The book chronicles 100 sites that have changed civilization, from political structures (Germany’s Bradenburg Gate) to sacred spaces (Cambodia’s Angkor Wat) and artistic hotbeds (the site of Burning Man in the bare Nevada desert). Each place is given gorgeous treatment, with glossy, beckoning photos and smart text that reads like a quick-hit history lesson with plenty of attention to did-you-know details. This is a book to read in pieces—one or two locations at a time—to stretch out the experience and take more in.
And if there can be one takeaway from a tome that crosses the globe and millions of years of human civilization, it would be the audacity of history—to build, battle, inquire and defend. And an urge to start searching for flights on Kayak, of course.