The ‘Indispensable’ CIA World Factbook

August 26, 2016

There are 267 world entities. Each one has a history, people, government, and economy. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) aims to summarize that information in just a few pages. The World Factbook, prepared by the CIA using information from a half-dozen cabinet-level agencies, profiles basic intelligence on all areas of the world. GPO makes available the latest edition of the U.S. government’s complete geographical handbook.

The World Factbook 2016-17

The World Factbook 2016-17 (002)This U.S. has been involved in basic intelligence gathering since the days of George Washington. As for the World Factbook, its beginnings predate the establishment of the CIA itself. During WWII, military decision-makers lacked detailed and coordinated information. So, they initiated a joint effort to collect and publish strategic intelligence. That information remained classified for nearly two decades.  According to the book’s own brief history, “the first classified Factbook was published in 1962, and the first unclassified version was published in June 1971.” Since 1975, GPO has made the almanac-style resource available to the public writ large.

The World Factbook is an encyclopedic listing of each country’s society, geography, energy, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues. It includes full-color maps of the major world regions including physical geography, political capitals, and world oceans with major shipping lanes, ports and checkpoints.

Here are a few geography facts that just may help you win at trivia night:

The CIA World Factbook covers Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and every country in between.

The CIA World Factbook covers Afghanistan to Zimbabwe and every country in between.

  • Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world.
  • Reykjavik, Iceland is the northernmost national capital in the world.
  • Indonesia is the world’s largest country composed entirely of islands.
  • Uzbekistan, along with Liechtenstein, is one of only two “doubly landlocked” countries in the world i.e., a country that is surrounded by landlocked countries.
  • Tonga remains the only monarchy in the Pacific.
  • The temperature in Aruba is almost constantly 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).

The Factbook’s current and actionable intelligence isn’t just for national-level policymakers. It’s a reference resource for everyone. The CIA World Factbook is “the indispensable source for basic intelligence,” the sort of world knowledge that can have a significant impact on people’s lives.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THE WORLD FACTBOOK 2016-17?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.


I’ve got the Whole World in my Hands…

July 15, 2014

World Factbook 2013-14You know you just sang the title of this blog. Now that I have your attention, let me tell you how you can have the whole world in your hands. Pick up the latest edition of The World Factbook 2013-14, currently available from the GPO Bookstore. Jam-packed with a plethora of information, it’s a one-stop reference for everyone from the youngster who has a geography project to a college student researching the economic climate in other countries.

 

cia logo

The World Factbook is prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

For those of you who are new to the World Factbook, here are a few key facts:

  • It is prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency.
  • The first unclassified version of the Factbook was published in 1971.
  • The 1975 Factbook was the first to be made available to the public with sales through the US Government Printing Office (GPO)
  • In 1981, it officially became The World Factbook.

The World Factbook 2013-14 provides the latest statistical facts for 267 countries and regions around world. Each entry begins with a small black and white map of the country or territory. It goes on to give a brief background introduction, the geography, people and society, government, economy, energy, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues. The publication also contains maps that present the physical features and political boundaries of each nation, as well as, the standard times zones of the world and the official flag of each country.

This image of the Physical Map of the World is one of several maps included the World Factbook

This image of the Physical Map of the World is one of several maps included in the World Factbook.

The World Factbook is filled many interesting facts. For instance, did you know that Russia and Japan have not formally ended World War II? According to the World Factbook, “the sovereignty dispute over the islands of, Etorofu, Kunashiri and Shikotan and the Habomai group, known in Japan as the ‘Northern Territories’ and in Russia as the ‘Southern Kuril islands,’ occupied by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by Russia and claimed by Japan, remains the primary sticking point to signing a peace treaty formally ending World War II hostilities.”

Other interesting facts, as well as recent updates to various categories and maps can all be found in the World Factbook 2013-14.

Take a journey into the Factbook to learn what you didn’t know about the world we live in.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THE WORLD FACTBOOK 2013-14?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy these publications (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Order by Phone: You may also Order print editions by calling our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Shop our Retail Store:Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Visit a Federal Depository Library:Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications or CGP.

About the author: Faith Johnson is an Outreach and Support Librarian for the U.S. Government Printing Office’s Library Services & Content Management division.

Additional content, images and editing provided by Trudy Hawkins, a writer and marketing specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division supporting the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).

 


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