The first Moon handbook I encountered was the classic South Pacific Handbook, by David Stanley. Then I acquired another classic, J. D. Bisignani's Hawaii Handbook. They were just what I wanted in a travel guide - compact, yet crammed with detailed information about places, their history, culture, environment, everything. Plus necessary information about travel practicalities, and good sound advice.

The Moon Handbook series is extensive, and growing. The trend is to break up the massive original works (such as South Pacific and Hawaii) into smaller units. Bisignani died a couple of years ago, but his work has been preserved in the continuously updated editions by Robert Nilson. Stanley is still out there, a world class traveller, moving anonymously around the Pacific. A whole crowd of others have been recruited to cover every one of the western states.

The handbooks all follow a common plan. There is first a lengthy introduction, covering the geography, history, and culture. Then general information on shopping, museums, how to get there, getting around, activities, and what to take. Next comes a detailed survey, area by area, each with sections on sights, accomodations, food and shopping.

The quality varies a bit, but the range is from good to excellent. The maps tend to be small and schematic, but new editions have better maps, including color (a couple of my former students are working on this).

I always take a Moon Handbook when I travel. I have particularly enjoyed Stanley's South Pacific, Bisignani's Hawaii, and Hempstead and King's British Columbia.

Alaska and Canada
Alaska-Yukon (7th ed.), by Don Pitcher
Alberta and the Northwest Territories, Including Banff, Jasper, and the Canadian Rockies (4th ed.), by Andrew Hempstead
Canadian Rockies (2nd ed.), by Andrew Hempstead
British Columbia (5th ed.), by Andrew Hempstead, Jane King
Vancouver (1st ed.), by Andrew Hempstead
Atlantic Canada (2nd ed.), by Mark Morris
Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains
Washington (6th ed.), by Don Pitcher
Oregon (5th ed.), by Stuart Warren, Ted Long Ishikawa, Brian Litt
Columbia River Gorge, Including Complete Coverage of Portland, by Stuart Warren, Brian Litt
Idaho (3rd ed.), by Don Root
Montana (4th ed.), by W.C. McRae, Judy Jewell
Wyoming (4th ed.), by Don Pitcher
Yellowstone / Grand Tetons (1st ed.), by Don Pitcher
Colorado (4th ed.), by Stephen Metzger
California, by Kim Weir
Northern California (3rd ed.), by Kim Weir
Tahoe, Including Reno and Carson Valley (3rd ed.), by Ken Castle
San Francisco (1st ed.), by Kim Weir, Pat Reilly
Silicon Valley (2nd ed.), by Martin Cheek
Coastal California (1st ed.), by Kim Weir
Southern California, Including Greater Los Angeles, Disneyland, San Diego, Death Valley, and Other Desert Parks (2nd ed.), by Kim Weir
Nevada (5th ed.), by Deke Castleman
Utah (6th ed.), by Bill Weir, W.C. McRae
Arizona (8th ed.), by Bill Weir
New Mexico (5th ed.), by Stephen Metzger
Santa Fe / Taos (1st ed.), by Stephen Metzger
Mexico (2nd ed.), by Joe Cummings, Chicki Mallan
Baja: Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas (4th ed.), by Joe Cummings
Cabo: La Paz to Cabo San Lucas (3rd ed.), by Joe Cummings
Northern Mexico (2nd ed.), by Joe Cummings
Puerto Vallarta (3rd ed.), by Bruce Whipperman
Mexico City (1st ed.), by Joe Cummings, Chris Humphrey
Yucatan Peninsula (6th ed.), by Chicki Mallan
Cancun (5th ed.), by Chicki Mallan, Oz Mallan
Archaeological Mexico (1st ed.), by Andrew Coe
Colonial Mexico (1st ed.), by Chicki Mallan, Oz Mallan
Hawaii, by J.D. Bisignani, Robert Nilsen
Kauai (3rd ed.), by J.D. Bisignani
Oahu: Honolulu, Waikiki and Beyond (4th ed.), by Robert Nilsen
Honolulu (3rd ed.), by J.D. Bisignani, Robert Nilsen
Maui (5th ed.), by J.D. Bisignani, Robert Nilsen
Big Island of Hawaii: Including Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (4th ed.), by Robert Nilsen
Pacific Islands
Moon Handbooks South Pacific, by David Stanley
Moon Tahiti (Moon Handbooks) by David Stanley
Moon Handbooks Micronesia by Neil Levy
Tonga-Samoa (1st ed.), by David Stanley
Moon Fiji (Moon Handbooks), by David Stanley

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