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100 Places You Will Never Visit: The Worlds Most Secret Locations.

100 PLACES YOU WILL NEVER VISIT: The Worlds Most Secret Locations

by Daniel Smith

Quercus, pb, 14.99 [pounds sterling]

Essential reading for nosey parkers and conspiracy theorists, this book includes everything from Cold War relics, high-security prisons and bank vaults to the Queen's bedroom, the Vatican's Secret Archives and Area 51--a US weapons and aircraft testing facility that may hold 'irrefutable evidence that aliens have visited Earth'.

Written by Daniel Smith, a researcher and writer for the geopolitical guide The Statesman's Yearbook, the book begins with the wreck of Soviet submarine K-129, which sank in the Pacific in unknown circumstances in 1968. It then moves east around the globe, revealing lesser known off-limits locations alongside those that have achieved legendary status--such as the Fort Knox Bullion Deposit--and others that aren't officially acknowledged, such as the Whitehall Tunnels, a series of First World War passages that are believed to link key governmental offices.

There wasn't a great deal more to be discovered about the high-profile Large Hadron Collider, but entries on Google's US$600million Data Center, which houses vast banks of servers, and Coca Cola's purpose-built vault, which protects the recipe of the 'world's favourite drink', are certainly illuminating.

While the book is great to dip in and out of. I can't help thinking that an even better one could be penned about a writer's attempts to gain access to some of these locations. Imagine them turning up at the drug-smuggling tunnels that cross the USA-Mexico border or attempting to charm their way into the headquarters of the Russian secret service--that would make a gripping read. As would an account of a day trip to Brazil's so-called 'snake island', home to 5,000 venomous lancehead vipers, where there is 'one for every square metre'. I would definitely add that to my Christmas list.

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Comment:100 Places You Will Never Visit: The Worlds Most Secret Locations.
Author:Hoare, Natalie
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 1, 2013
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