World Factbook 2015 (GPO)
From the webpage:
The Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook provides brief information on the history, geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 countries and regions around world.
The CIA’s World Factbook also contains several appendices and maps of major world regions, which are located at the very end of the publication. The appendices cover abbreviations, international organizations and groups, selected international environmental agreements, weights and measures, cross-reference lists of country and hydrographic data codes, and geographic names.
For maps, it provides a country map for each country entry and a total of 12 regional reference maps that display the physical features and political boundaries of each world region. It also includes a pull-out Flags of the World, a Physical Map of the World, a Political Map of the World, and a Standard Time Zones of the World map.
Who should read The World Factbook? It is a great one-stop reference for anyone looking for an expansive body of international data on world statistics, and has been a must-have publication for:
- US Government officials and diplomats
- News organizations and researchers
- Corporations and geographers
- Teachers, professors, librarians, and students
- Anyone who travels abroad or who is interested in foreign countries
The print version is $89.00 (U.S.), is 923 pages long and weighs in at 5.75 lb. in paperback.
A convenient and frequently updated alternative is the online CIA World Factbook.
I can’t compare the two versions because I am not going to spend $89.00 for an arm wrecker.
You can also download a copy of the HTML version.
I downloaded and unzipped the file, only to find that the last update was in June, 2014.
That may be updated soon or it may not. I really don’t know.
If you just need background information that is unlikely to change or you want to avoid surveillance on what countries you look at and for how long, download the 2014 HTML version or pony up for the 2015 paper version.