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National geographic is now an international brand. There are toys, a tv channel, clothes and, of course, the magazine. Or should I say magazineS as there are several including a kids version and a specialist 'traveller' one too. This review is about the original publication.
**About the magazine**
National Geographic is an American magazine. It features stories on topics that can loosely be called 'geography', so lots of features about wildlife, the environment, science but also many people centred stories about how people live around the globe. The May edition had features on the Grand Canals of China, Zimbabwe and how/why human life expectancy has increased. Regular features include readers photo's/letters, a historic photo and the editors note. Whilst the articles are not impenetrable, nor are they light weight. You will be both educated and entertained.
National Geographic is distinguished by it's fabulous photography. Each article is accompanied by astonishing shots as well as superb visual diagrams. Most editions feature some sort of pull out section to fit in a panorama or particularly interesting map/diagram. It's a feast for the eyes as well as the brain.
** Who this will appeal to**
I first purchased a copy as it seemed like a magazine that both my partner and I could enjoy. The human interest articles (declining birth rate in Brazil, Aboriginal communities in Australia) appeal most to me whilst the wild life appeals more to him. You can read cover to cover or you can dip in and out as the articles don't date quickly. In fact, I recently sold 6 old copies dating back to 2006 for £2 at a car boot sale! In terms of age, even quite young children can enjoy the pictures. The occasional article may be unsuitable for some primary schoolers but it could be worth seeing if your child is interested in this rather than the 'kids' version, then the whole family can share.
**Where and how to buy**
You can buy National Geographic at most newsagents. It is a global publication, published once per month, so you will see it around the world, especially in airports. One copy retails at about £5. For many years I picked up the odd edition, thought the price was a tad high but ok as an occasional purchase as I really enjoyed it. If you want to sample the magazine, this is a good way to do it. However, I was amazed when a flyer fell out of an edition advertising a subscription (12 editions over a year) at £15. I couldn't quite believe it but a check on line confirmed this and I was lucky enough to get this subscription as a birthday gift from my partner.
So, a little more about the subscription. As mentioned above, this was a gift from my partner. He ordered in March and the first edition I received was May's delivered in April. In the interim period a postcard came through confirming the order (so my present was revealed!!), then a free map and eventually a free fleece. Then the magazine - which was all I really wanted! So, in short, the subscription process is convoluted, however, the magazine is well worth the wait at this vastly reduced price.
For me National geographic is a five star publication with a four star subscription process. Don't let this put you off though - it could be the best £15 you will spend this year.