(Review of The Peoples Guide To Mexico by W.F. Reinka for the Independent Publisher Book Awards for 1999)
The Peoples Guide To Mexico is encyclopedic. Besides experienced advice on eating, lodging, driving, and shopping in Mexico, the guidebook tells where to find AA meetings, fishing licenses and lottery tickets. It offers first-hand advice on dealing with machismo and discarding (not flushing) toilet tissues. It covers every question we might have and addresses questions we would ask if we knew better. This easy first place winner serves as a model to those many travel guides that only claim to be complete or comprehensive.
The new 25th anniversary edition remains upbeat and enthusiastic without degenerating into a Pollyannish paean to Mexico. Its deliberately foreign viewpoint is perhaps its greatest asset, focusing on unaccustomed situations. For example, while extolling the joyful adventure of driving through the Mexican countryside, it pulls over to explain how to handle (and avoid) being overcharged for gasoline. It encourages visitors to explore eating stalls and inexpensive lodgings without tiresome lectures about the real Mexico or how to blend with the locals.
The book detours to Guatemala and Belize before leading the reader back through US Customs.
Lastly, the well-organized guides exhaustive index allows any traveler to pinpoint information quickly. That is not an insignificant virtue when so many travel books feature a generalized index that forces the reader to wade through what the author must feel is golden prose simply to find information on exit tax or market holidays.