Last year, a private company embarked on an ambitious venture to produce what turned out to be a fine book on Slovakia in English, replete with useful data and extensive visuals promoting the country. This year, the company, Slovakia for the World, has done it again, printing a second edition of the book, also titled "Slovakia for the World." Including a second book introducing Slovakia's neighbors and creating a CD-ROM version, this set is better than before.
These slick, high-quality softcover books, beautifully designed with stunning full-page photographs and state of the art graphics, also are packed with facts and figures with a clear intent to educate the reader. It also serves as a practical source for information, shown by its listings of the phone, fax and addresses of all government ministries.
But it was clearly not designed to be an encyclopedia-type publication. Far from dry, its artful presentation encourages you to read it. "Our goal was to act as an ambassador in this book," said Igor Šimeg, co-editor of "Slovakia for the World." "We want people to feel that this country is civilized and full of real people, not to just provide information and act as a data base."
In addition to the chapters on the various government ministries, written by the ministries themselves, there are chapters on Little Known Slovak Patents (1465-1994), the Third Sector in Slovakia, the M.R. Štefánik Airport in Bratislava, and an excellent road map of Slovakia. The section entitled "Cross-Section of Slovak Business," however, is 71 pages of advertising.
The second book, entitled "Central Europe," provides chapters on Slovakia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and the Ukraine crowned by a two-page spread , easy to read map of Europe and a separate section with timelines to chart each of the seven countries' history.
The CD-ROM promises to be a rich addition to this set, and for an extra 500 Sk, is an outstanding value. It includes an analysis of the trade market by the international auditing firm KPMG, 60 pages on doing business in Slovakia, a 10 minute video on Slovakia, an economic overview and over 300 photos.
The visual details have been attended to in these works; the maps are outstanding, the photographs are unique, and the general presentation is colorful and sales-oriented. While the translation is fairly well done, and the tone is interesting, there are a few statements that smack of opinion in the ministries' section of the "Slovakia for the World" book. But that does not mask the fact that the set is a beautiful collection of ideas compiled by two very talented authors, Šimeg (an actor), and Ingrid Smolinská (an opera singer).
"Slovakia for the World" and "Central Europe" are available as a set for 1,500 Sk, and for 2,000 Sk when the CD-ROM version is included. The CD-ROM can also be purchased separately for 1,300 Sk.
3. Jul 1996 at 0:00 | Julie Moylan Vagač