101 places you will never visit, by Daniel Smith

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Reviews, recommendations, books to avoid. What have you been reading?

101 places you will never visit, by Daniel Smith

Postby Sprocket » May 18th, 2015, 12:39 pm

I've just been browsing in this, a lavishly-illustrated coffee-table book. It's fascinating, but inevitably somewhat depressing, since many of the places are, as you might expect, sinister or macabre - America's "death farm", a forensic research establishment where human bodies are left to decay in the open, to see what happens to them; the remains of the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear reactors; the Pentagon GCHQ, and MI5; a "super-max" ultra-high-security prison in America; Camp 22, the largest of the many prison-camps for political dissidents in North Korea, the size of a smallish English county; Centralia, a former minig town in America, abandoned after the coal seam caught fire in the 60s - it is still burning, and is likely to continue doing so for another 200 years, and toxic fumes escape from vents in the ground; The remains of the Fuhrerbunker, underneath a nondescript car park in Berlin; Snake Island, off the coast of Brazil, infested with the world's most venomous species of snake; vasrious military testing grounds; and, on a lighter note, the Queen's bedroom in Buckingham Palace. You feel a strange urge to wash your hands after browsing in it.
Actually, a few places shoudn't be in, because they are visitable: the Tower of London Jewel House, where the crown jewels are kept, is visited by thousands of tourists a year; all you can't do is get near enough to touch them - and Centralia, mentioned above, is perfectly visitable, if you want to - indeed, a few stubborn residents still live there, having refused the American government's offers of free relocation.
Treason doth never prosper: what's the reason?
Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason.
Sir John Harington (1561-1620)
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