Third World Guide 93/94
1993/94,14th Edition, Annual
631 pages, paper, Cdn $38.95
Available at any good independent or university bookstore
or direct from the publisher.
Directory Resources reviewed by Stacey Cohen
"When we hand our children an encyclopedia, we might be
handing them a set of ideological blinkers; today's children no
doubt go to the U.S. published Encyclopedia Britannica, For balance,
we should give them the Third World Guide. "-The Age, Melborne
This cumulative guide gives us a view from the unique perspective
of the third world. While the current label of these countries tends
to be Developing Nations, the Institute del Tercer Mundo (Third
World Institute) that put together the information says: "The
guide provides information on over 140 states, including 'developed'
and 'developing' states as well as the third world."
The term "third world" is noted in an article at the front
of the guide to have originated 500 years ago when European settlers
in the New World enslaved the people of Africa to work their lands
across the ocean. However the term only came to be used in the second
half of this century. The Third World Guide does not claim
to be objective in its views, but rather to introduce us to a perspective
many would not normally see.
The list of individual contributors is extensive. There is also
acknowledgment of several organizations-including UNESCO, the UN
Information Center in Rio and the World Bank in Paris-that donated
the use of their libraries for research. The Insituto del TercerMundo
itself is a non-profit organization based in Montevideo, Uruguay,
dedicated to providing information, communication and education.
All topics covered are relevant to most people today. Anything anyone
might need to find out in 23 areas of research about the third world
nations of our planet is here. General topics such as children,
labour and food are divided by category rather than country. These
are very general and include, along with written information, some
useful and descriptive charts and graphs.
The main section of the guide is an alphabetical breakdown of all
the countries of the world, including developed, developing, and
third world nations. Each gives a brief history, government information,
and more general information on natural resources, the land and
the people. All the text, statistics and maps are also available
An invaluable inclusion in the guide is a page labeled "Networks",
which includes a list of Association for Progressive Communications
(APC) member networks with phone, fax and E-mail numbers, along
with a human contact at each organization. There is also a chart
of all the nodes and connected systems of the APC, with an explanation
of how it all works. A descriptive paragraph emphasizes that with
the development of technology comes "The Right to Communicate",
and the importance of this right to all peoples of the world.
The general index is thorough, though it would be easier to follow
if the sections were arranged alphabetically. The bibliography and
alphabetical index are listed at the front of the guide as opposed
to the back, a useful break with convention.
Much of the information in the guide is rather technical in style
and content A good working knowledge of the issues presented would
be helpful to anyone using this as a source. This does not make
the guide less useful, but it might not be best as a first source
for someone new to these issues.
The introduction to the guide clearly states that although this
latest edition is significantly different from its predecessor,
it in no way has all the answers due to rapid changes in the world
in these times. It is hoped, though, that through the new information
provided, users of the guide will "help people to formulate
Published in Sources, Summer 1993
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