Provides current information on the economic, political, and social conditions of every constituted country in the world. Part I offers information on international organizations, and Part II contains entries on each country and its states. Includes a 1997-98 chronology, and lists of currency rates, weights and measures, and maritime limits. Published continuously since 1863, this edition of the reference contains six essays by major political and academic figures, a foldout color section with a world map and flags of 192 countries, a new section on international economic relations, and expanded information on international organizations. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.