On the Map: Why the World Looks the Way it Does

Simon Garfield

On the Map: Why the World Looks the Way it Does

Maps fascinate us. They chart our understanding of the world and they log our progress, but above all they tell our stories. From the early sketches of philosophers and explorers through to Google Maps and beyond, Simon Garfield examines how maps both relate and realign our history. His compelling narratives range from the quest to create the perfect globe to the challenges of mapping Africa and Antarctica, from spellbinding treasure maps to the naming of America, from Ordnance Survey to the mapping of Monopoly and Skyrim, and from rare map dealers to cartographic frauds. En route, there are 'pocket map' tales on dragons and undergrounds, a nineteenth century murder map, the research conducted on the different ways that men and women approach a map, and an explanation of the curious long-term cartographic role played by animals. 4.1 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
On the Map: Why the World Looks the Way it Does

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy, Travel
Format Hardback
Pages 468
RRP
Date of Publication October 2012
ISBN 978-1846685095
Publisher Profile
 

Maps fascinate us. They chart our understanding of the world and they log our progress, but above all they tell our stories. From the early sketches of philosophers and explorers through to Google Maps and beyond, Simon Garfield examines how maps both relate and realign our history. His compelling narratives range from the quest to create the perfect globe to the challenges of mapping Africa and Antarctica, from spellbinding treasure maps to the naming of America, from Ordnance Survey to the mapping of Monopoly and Skyrim, and from rare map dealers to cartographic frauds. En route, there are 'pocket map' tales on dragons and undergrounds, a nineteenth century murder map, the research conducted on the different ways that men and women approach a map, and an explanation of the curious long-term cartographic role played by animals.

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Reviews

The Daily Mail

Harry Ritchie

Simon Garfield pays dutiful respect to our brave new satellite-guided world, our Googled Earth, towards the end of this very well-written, very well-researched and thoroughly fascinating book. But you can tell that his heart is really in the nineteen preceding chapters devoted to the history of maps and their makers ... completely enthralling.

12/10/2012

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The Sunday Telegraph

David Clack

... it’s a pub quizzer’s dream. That said, the constant flow of facts rarely becomes exhausting. Having written books about subjects as niche as synthetic dyes, stamps and fonts (last year’s cult hit Just My Type), Garfield’s understanding of the average reader’s attention span is mercifully realistic, and there’s rarely a train of thought that’s not rounded off with a pithy anecdote or neat piece of cartographic trivia.

30/10/2012

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The Independent on Sunday

Mark Wilson

On the Map will inspire you to take a trip to somewhere new, buy an antique globe to chart the rise and fall of empires, or just dig out a tatty orange Ordnance Survey Explorer map and let its filigree of contour lines evoke a long-forgotten walk in the rain. Maps, says Garfield, are "not defined certainty, but the opposite — the mystery, and the life-enhancing possibility of discovery". It's such generosity of spirit that makes this a great book.

07/10/2012

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The Guardian

Rachel Hewitt

... although Garfield's definition of "map" is admirably expansive (he turns his attention to guidebooks, written itineraries and globes, as well as nautical charts and modern digital "mash-ups"), his exhibition is less broad in geographical focus, and predominantly restricts its gaze to the western world ... But all surveys — books or maps — are by nature selective, and On the Map is a survey of some of the most intriguing and thought-provoking moments in map history, narrated with a level of detail, colour and liveliness of which the most ambitious mapmaker would be proud.

20/10/2012

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