The Wise World Traveler

The Wise World Traveler

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What if you could travel abroad with the perfect companion, one who could tell you about the most exciting places around the globe as well as how these places connect to the world and to you? In The Wise World Traveler (published on January 5, 2015), renowned authors, professors, and travel guides James E. Harf and Lawrence J. R. Herson become the travel partners you’ve always wanted, whether you’re a university student, a senior citizen on a cruise ship, or a parent educating young children through global travel. With their entertaining, accessible style, the authors share history, legends, and fun facts, 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, Harf and Herson 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.

About the Authors

James E. Harf, Ph.D., has published over three-dozen academic books as well as the novel Memories of Ivy (2005). For the past thirteen years, Harf has overseen travel programs to every corner of the globe for over 2,000 university students and one-hundred faculty. He has also personally led study-abroad programs for over 1,000 students overseas. Prior to his work in travel programs, Harf was a professor of political science at The Ohio State University for over three decades. He received his Ph.D. from Indiana University.

Co-author Lawrence J. R. Herson, Ph.D., passed away in early 2016, but he lectured on cruise ships throughout the world and was a prolific writer, having published The Urban Web: Politics, Policy, and Theory (1998) and many other titles. Prior to his work as a popular lecturer on cruise ships, Herson served as a decorated combat meteorologist during World War II and later became a professor of political science at The Ohio State University, where he worked with James E. Harf.