Let me get my chief complaints out of the way first: this author loves to eat. It sometimes seems that every other entry is a restaurant or local culinary hot-spot, from "Cheese Country" to "Big Pig Jig." These are not destinations, they're cuisines. Subtract those, and you probably have a book better titled 900 Places to See Before You Die. (Assuming all the eating doesn't kill you at number 600.)
Another minor quibble: some of the "places" are actually events, like Burning Man and the Indianapolis 500. I'll overlook it...
She also likes to go in style, and apparently hasn't met a spa she didn't like. Subtract all the ultra-ritzy exclusive hotel/spas, sculpture gardens, resorts, dude ranches and expensive art galleries, which are likely either of out reach financially or simply not of interest to a large base of the potential audience, and you're down to 500 Places to See.
So, then, if you can get it for half price, you've got a bargain.
Now, onto the good things. There are many, despite my protestations above. First is the very idea of the book. It's fun and interesting to see such a list compiled; invariably something important gets left out, but what is created by the greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts compilation is a true sense of America as a destination in its own right, worth of as much attention as any other in the world.
Also, I was made aware of many places I wouldn't have found otherwise, like the Yoder Popcorn Shoppe in Topeka, Indiana. There are many hidden treasures in these pages.
Finally, despite being top-heavy with attractions for the chic looky-loo set as mentioned above, the book is saved from being completely out of touch by its inclusion of attractions that appeal to a broad section of people (as would befit a book about America). Burning Man Festival is here, as is the State Fair of Texas, the Civil Rights Trail, and others.
My strong recommendation is that a second book be created called "1000 Places to Dine Before You Die," (though the publisher may not want to have the words "dine" and "die" so close together), and all the restaurant entries removed from this and placed there. Then the gap filled with what got left out of this book and should have been in in the first place.