The Wise World Traveler

James E. Harf and Lawrence J. R. Herson co-authored an exciting new book that just released: The Wise World Traveler (ISBN 978-1938522017). James E. Harf is Associate Vice President and Director at Maryville University of Saint Louis and father of Marie Harf, Deputy Spokesperson for the State Department and a former spokesperson for the Central Intelligence Agency. Larry J. R. Herson was a well-published author in six languages who was a decorated combat meteorologist in the South Pacific Theater during World War II as a young man.  Since retiring from Ohio State two decades ago, Herson spent his time as a lecturer on very exclusive cruise ships calling on ports throughout the world.

The Wise World Traveler is a treasure for aspiring global citizens and international educators. With their entertaining, accessible style, the authors share 414 pages of history, legends, and fun facts all over world, like where the ancient city of Troy actually is (and the drama around who discovered it), how the city of Venice influenced the naming of Venezuela, and where expressions like “kow tow” come from. They also cover more general historical changes, such as how the Renaissance transformed western civilization forever and how the sugar trade influenced everything from slavery to the American Revolution to the civil rights movement of the late twentieth century. Going far beyond conventional guidebooks, Herson and Harf pinpoint the concepts that help travelers get the most out of the countries and cultures they visit. They help us understand things like the relation between geography and government–for example, why despotisms tend to develop in countries with vast expanses of flat terrain. And they highlight overarching issues that help us appreciate unfamiliar cultures, like the fundamental questions that all religions try to answer. The Wise World Traveler does more than place exciting locales in cultural and historical context; it shows us the radical difference between the ordinary and the wise traveler: If we truly learn what we are seeing, we become a part of all that we meet. And in the process, we gain wisdom about ourselves.