'You guys really are the axis of evil', our guide splutters over his stein of beer in the Pyongyang duck restaurant. 'You're always leaning out of the windows and taking photographs when I tell you not to.'
In an age of plastic knives on planes, Tony Wheeler can make the extraordinary claim of having visited all the rogue countries currently on newsreaders' lips. Bad Lands is a witty first-hand account of his travels through places often perceived as having some of the most repressive and dangerous regimes in the world: Afghanistan, Albania, Burma, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea and Saudi Arabia. Taking into account each country's attitude to human rights, terrorism and foreign policy, he asks 'what makes a country truly evil?' and 'how bad is really bad?' - all the while engaging with a colourful cast of locals and hapless tour guides, ruminating on history and debunking popular myths.
Written by the founder of Lonely Planet, this fascinating account of life in these closed-off countries will appeal to anyone with an interest in the state of the world today.