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Seasoned traveler and writer McCrum (The Craic) has produced an informative and delightful gem for international travelers. He looks at the customs of various nations and regions and explains how different greetings, gestures, gifts, toasts, foods, names, clothes, and salutations can have extremely varied meanings from one land to another. For instance, as his title warns, tourists in China should not pay for their share of a meal because the Chinese host would "lose face" by not covering the entire tab. Also, in the West, children are taught to look people directly in the eye, indicating sincerity. But in China too long a stare is disrespectful. Usually, as McCrum notes, the distinctions can be seen as humorous, but he also shows that they can have serious consequences. For example, a foreign woman in Saudi Arabia wearing a short skirt or low-cut top would be out of order and could receive a whack on the shins from the stick of a passing mullah or a visit from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. McCrum's chronicle is meant to help the traveler avoid embarrassment or miscommunication, but along the way, he tells much about varied cultures and peoples around the world. An excellent and comprehensive index and 14 whimsical and descriptive line drawings round out the text. For international travel collections in all public libraries.
—Melinda Stivers Leach