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25th Anniversary of Moon Handbooks South Pacific

By doina — last modified Jun 24, 2004 04:17 PM

Published: 2004-06-24 16:17:51
Countries: American Samoa , Australia , Cook Islands , Federated States of Micronesia , Fiji , French Polynesia , Galapagos , Kiribati , Nauru , New Caledonia , New Zealand , Niue , Norfolk Island , Northern Marianas , Palau (Belau) , Papua New Guinea , Pitcairn Island , Samoa , Tokelau , Tonga , Tuvalu , Vanuatu , Wallis and Futuna

In June, 1979, Moon Publications of Rutland, Vermont, published the 1st edition of South Pacific Handbook. A quarter century later, Moon Handbooks South Pacific is still the leading travel guide to Polynesia and Melanesia, with an 8th edition due from Avalon Travel Publishing in late 2004.

In 1973, Bill Dalton's Indonesia Handbook launched the Moon Handbooks series, which now numbers over 100 titles. South Pacific Handbook was Moon's second book, researched by David Stanley and put together by co-author Bill Dalton. The 1979 edition of South Pacific Handbook was printed by Colorcraft Ltd. of Hong Kong, which is still used by Moon's successor company, Avalon Travel Publishing.

South Pacific Handbook was the first travel guide to the Pacific islands, covering the entire region including Micronesia. A few years later two Pacific territories which had full chapters in the 1st edition ceased to exist. New Hebrides achieved independence from Britain and France in 1980 and became Vanuatu, while in 1986 the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands broke into four separate entities as the United States restructured its interests in Micronesia. Early editions of South Pacific Handbook now provide source material for historians.

Bill Dalton withdrew as co-author after the 1st edition, and David Stanley has researched and written all subsequent editions. In 1985, the Micronesia chapters were made into a separate guide, and Papua New Guinea was dropped from the coverage. The 1979, 1982, and 1985 editions of South Pacific Handbook pioneered travel through the region, and it wasn't until 1987 that the first competitors began appearing. To meet this challenge, the 1989 edition of South Pacific Handbook was expanded to include the full range of accommodations, not only the budget properties previously featured.

The 5th, 6th, and 7th editions of Moon Handbooks South Pacific appeared in 1993, 1996, and 2000, and Stanley has recently made five extensive trips to research an 8th edition. Twenty-five years after its genesis in 1979, Moon Handbooks South Pacific is still what Paul Theroux called "the most user-friendly travel guide" to the South Pacific.

The 976-page 7th edition of Moon Handbooks South Pacific (ISBN 1566911729) was published by Avalon Travel Publishing of Emeryville, California, in January, 2000. An 8th edition will be released in late 2004. David Stanley is also the author of Moon Handbooks Tahiti: Including the Cook Islands (ISBN 1566914124), Moon Handbooks Fiji (ISBN 1566913365), and Moon Handbooks Tonga-Samoa (ISBN 1566911745). More information is available on Avalon Travel Publishing titles are distributed in the United States by Publishers Group West.