Overall, I found the basic information in this book to be useful and accurate (I purchased the 2010 edition). However, I felt the book really played up the negative aspects of all of the countries in South America. I planned on spending at least a month of my sabbatical in South America, but ended up changing my plans before I went because of this book. I ran into another traveler from the US on my trip who had the same book and asked him what he thought about the book. His response was, 'I feel like I am lucky to be alive and have made it this far because of all the warnings in this book'. I told him I wholeheartedly agreed.
Now, don't get me wrong, it is good to know the negatives of all of the places you will visit! I want to know that I shouldn't take unmarked cabs and that the border patrol is very likely going to steal everything of value from my luggage. However, the warnings in this book had me paranoid and quite frankly, afraid. I would say that I am a well traveled person and live in a large city, so maybe this book wasn't meant for me. Based on the title of the book, it might be more appropriate for people who have never traveled before, backpackers. If you are a fairly confident, well versed traveler, I would consider another book. If this is your first time traveling anywhere, this might be the book for you. I am sure that all of the stories in the book have happened, luckily, I didn't experience any of them.
Incidentally, I can't wait to go back to South America, but I will be using a different book.