Atlas, Schmatlas Review
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You know those times when you’re watching CNN or MSNBC or whatever while you’re waiting for the next rerun of Law & Order to come on and they mention some crisis in some far-away country that you’ve never really heard of? You know how, at those times, you often wish you had some kind of book that you could reach for to find some clear and concise information about that country?

Yeah? Well, this isn’t that book.

British humorist Craig Robinson’s Atlas, Schmatlas: A Superior Atlas of the World looks like a big coffee table book that would have all kinds of information about all kinds of countries—and, in a way, it does. But, mostly, it’s just good for some laughs.

Illustrated with hand-drawn maps, lots of tiny, pixely images of famous people, and other silly stuff, Atlas Schmatlas will teach you all kinds of valuable information about the world you live in. For instance, if you have a nut allergy, you’ll learn that you probably shouldn’t bother planning a vacation to The Gambia. You’ll also learn that Austria is shaped like a chicken drumstick. You’ll learn some other valuable information, too, like…well, I can’t remember anything else off the top of my head. But at least the maps are informative.

Mostly, though, you’ll read a lot of stories about some French explorers named Pierre and Jacques, some British explorers named Peter and James, and Christopher Columbus and his mate, Rodrigo. Some of it is based in fact, and some of it is just totally and completely made up. Sometimes, you might even be able to tell the difference.

Atlas, Schmatlas is politically incorrect, completely irreverent, often crude, and sometimes rather offensive—much like a Judd Apatow movie. Sometimes, Robinson takes his stories a bit too far, to the point that they’re not all that funny anymore. But, more often than not, his random observations and silly stories will have you laughing out loud (so it’s best not to read it while you’re drinking milk).

For world travelers with a twisted sense of humor, Atlas, Schmatlas is a fun coffee table book to pick up and peruse from time to time. Just remember to put it away when your grandma comes over for a visit—because it might make her reconsider your inheritance.

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