The bulk of this Grey House directory is arranged alphabetically by country name. Though the ninth edition is dated 2010, the data ends with 2008. The directory pays particular attention to nailing down economic elements from the last five years. This edition offers a unique snapshot of the global political community during what most of the articles refer to euphemistically as the global economic crisis. Each nation’s response and affectedness at the downturn is described in detail in the main article, with charts tracking population and employment, domestic production and indebtedness, adjusted annually from 2005 to 2008. In addition to this examination of each nation’s balance of trade, the entries pay much attention to events of the recent past. This up-to-the-minute perspective provides excellent background for travelers, supplementing the longer historical views typically found in traditional tourist resources, as well as authoritative information about electrical supply and opening hours. The authors devote particular attention to the current political climate, including hot-button issues dominating the news. A "risk assessment" meter weighs each nation on the overall stability of their political, economic and regional security systems.
The reliance on World Health Organization and UNESCO data provides a basis for comparison, and more subjective valuations about aspects such as transportation and climate are both informed and supported with data. Information about dress codes and local customs tends to be minimal but pithy. The book does not address aspects of asylum, residency, and or immigration many library users might be seeking. The book’s thorough exploration of each nation’s consumption of energy and production of hydrocarbons provides a comparable, up-to-date perspective on environmental impact appropriate as the United States still weighs ratification of the Kyoto treaty.
Line art maps are the only illustration, and the volume is printed on lightweight newsprint with a paperback binding resembling that of a telephone directory. The format is somewhat dated in its reliance on telephone and fax numbers for contact information for even the more wired countries. Some email addresses are provided, but world wide web addresses are segregated from the rest of the contact information and listed as a separate information format at the end of the article. An appendix provides access to countries in a comparative format, by continent. Nations of the World, with its available companion CD-ROM product, is an inexpensive update to an aging encyclopedia, providing more detail than an almanac. Recommended for school and public libraries.