Atlas of Dark Destinations
Here it finally is, my big book about dark tourism! Out now!
You can order the book direct from the publishers – if you’re in the UK then go to the home website of Laurence King Publishing Ltd
., if you’re in one of the German-speaking countries, distribution is by the German branch LK Verlag
, for the rest of the world use the US branch of Laurence King
. The price is 25 GBP / 24 EUR / 29.99 USD. Of course you can also order it from a local bookshop or from any other online bookseller, including Amazon
, naturally, although I’d prefer it if people bought the book through an independent bookshop (these really need our support!). If you do buy it from Amazon, though, and if you like the book, then please consider leaving a rating or even a review on that platform.
It’s not an academic work, but a book about the practice of dark tourism. That is to say, it’s more for travellers (whether of the armchair variety or actual travellers) and not so much for scholars of dark tourism. It doesn’t philosophize about dark tourism but gives an overview of what dark destinations of a wide range of categories there are and what to expect from them. It’s primarily intended to whet readers’ appetite for travelling to such places and provide inspiration as to what options there are. For that purpose I’ve selected 300 individual places in 90 different countries and those 300 are given their own chapters – some shorter, some longer.
In addition there are featured pages about certain background topics of history and scientific basics, such as one about radiation, one about Apartheid, another about the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and so on. Moreover there are several lists of other places of the same nature as a certain chapter, e.g. the one about Père Lachaise comes with a page that lists other cemeteries worth visiting around the world. That way the brevity of many destination chapters is offset and the feature chapters lend the book a bit more intellectual depth, I find.
The book is also lavishly illustrated with photos (about a third of them my own, the others bought-in stock photos) and also comes with a few “stats” boxes, to throw in some figures. And to justify the designation “Atlas” there are maps preceding each section, which are organized geographically from the north-west (USA, with Mount St Helens as the opening chapter) to the south-east in the Pacific (Easter Island is the closing chapter).
The editorial team, and also the designer who was specially hired in for the project, all did a tremendous job, and I’m very much indebted to them. The overall result is just a very beautiful 352-page tome, if I may say so myself. I’m really pleased with it anyway. And the price is quite a bargain. I think it could have been much more expensive ;-)
See also this section with links to and excerpts from reviews of the book
together with a few comments.
And here are a few taster photos that the publishers had prepared. The first three can also be found on Amazon's UK site and on Instagram. They add an element of 'wanderlust' with that retro camera to the side of the book. It also provides a vague point of reference as to the size of the tome:
Here's a sample in the same style of a spread of pages for Western Europe:
And here's a third photo in that style, now of a sample map (with the dark sites covered in the book for the USA
marked on it and listed below the map). Such maps precede all the sections that the book is subdivided into geographically:
On the publishers' website there are also a few sample pages, simpler in style, like this one of the book at an angle:
And this is the back cover, with a general blurb prepared by the publishers (so not my words, but I very much approve of them) and a stock photo of the ghost town
in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
Here's another map spread, now for Central Europe:
And this is another sample chapter spread, namely from the Berlin section, which also features one of the several statistics boxes in the book, plus a list of related Stasi
Finally, here's a sample of one of the various thematic background info pages, in this case the one about the Rwandan genocide
, accompanied by one of the photos taking up an entire page:
I think all of these images look quite good and provide a decent impression of what to expect from the book. But it's still something else to actually hold the tome in your own hands and start browsing. It can be quite addictive, even for me, despite the fact that I am of course completely familiar with the entire contents. It's just a joy to physically dip in and out and thus become an armchair globetrotter. Go get yourself a copy and join in!
There is also a Spanish translation of the book
available and a Russian version
has appeared as well, and I was told there was also to be a Japanese version, possibly a French one too (though I've not actually seen copies of those versions). The latest addition is a (surprise) Slovak version (released in early 2023). If there’s to be one in German that will be my job – it’s in my contract, but so far the German branch of the publishers haven’t decided yet if/when they want to launch the German version. I’d relish the challenge, but it is for them to say when/if.
But for everybody fine with English, you can order your copy from the addresses given above now! Please do as it is also support for this website!
UPDATE 2 March 2022: due to Putin's ongoing war against Ukraine
and the fallout this has created also for Russia
itself as well as its buddy Belarus
, about 20 chapters of my book are now rather outdated. And unlike on this website, those chapters cannot be edited. Once printed, books are what they are. If there was ever to be a second edition, I guess some changes will have to be made.