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America the beautiful -- in pictures

LIFE

Just in time for the Fourth of July: Now available on newsstands, “America the Beautiful: 100 Places to See in Your Lifetime” (Time Home Entertainment, $12.99) offers a celebratory parade of images showcasing iconic and unknown wonders around the country.

Compiled by the editors of LIFE, the softcover “bookazine” is a re-release of a hardcover version published in 2007. In its 144 pages, readers can visit both obvious selections — for example, Gettysburg or the Grand Canyon — and lesser-known ones, such as the mysterious Great Serpent Mound in Ohio and the oft-overlooked Cloisters museum in New York City.

“We hope the result is a book that’s visually splendid, but also surprising at turns,” said Managing Editor Bob Sullivan. “Even when it’s an expected place, we didn’t want a postcard shot.”

To that end, the book includes three “portfolios,” multi-page looks at specific destinations by individual photographers, including Ansel Adams, Michael Melford and Joel Meyerowitz. Melford’s images of Hawaii and Meyerowitz’s of Cape Cod, in particular, showcase scenes you won’t find at the local souvenir shop.

The book also includes the editors’ own Top 10 list, which, Sullivan readily admits, was a highly subjective endeavor. “Top 5 or Top 10 lists are by nature provocative,” he said, “but we wanted to get people thinking about their own lists.”

Slideshow: America the Beautiful

Topping their list? Washington, D.C., which Sullivan maintains should be on everybody’s must-see list: “The minute you start walking around, your head is filled with ideas about what [your surroundings] represent. It’s the manifestation of the idea behind our country.

“Also, it’s gorgeous.”

Charlie Tasnadi / AP via LIFE

Within Washington, D.C., beats the heart of American democracy -- the White House, the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court.

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Rob Lovitt is a longtime travel writer who still believes the journey is as important as the destination. Follow him at Twitter.