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The World of Gerard Mercator

The World of Gerard Mercator Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A biography of the mapmaker who revolutionized geography. "The story of discovery and mapmaking is one of pushing back shadows," writes Andrew Taylor, and "none in the last two thousand years achieved as much as Gerard Mercator in extending the boundaries of what could be comprehended." His life encompassed most of the turbulent, extraordinary sixteenth century, a time when revolutions would engulf religion, science, and civilization. Almost extinguished by the Inquisition, Mercator's genius lay in making maps, and his achievement was nothing less than to revolutionize the study of geography. Appropriately for an era undergoing radical change, Mercator was full of contradiction, tied to knowledge and beliefs of the past while forging a new path. He never traveled beyond northern Europe, yet he had the imagination to draw the entire world anew and to solve a problem that had baffled sailors and scientists for centuries: how a curved Earth could be faithfully rendered on a flat surface so as to allow for accurate navigation. His "projection" was so visionary that it is used by NASA to map Mars today. Andrew Taylor has beautifully captured Mercator amidst the turmoil and opportunity of his times and the luminaries who inspired his talent; his teacher and business partner, Gemma Frisius; the English magus, John Dee; his benefactor, Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor; his cartographic collaborator, Abraham Ortelius. The World of Gerard Mercator is a masterful biography of one of the men most responsible for the modern world.

Review:

"Maps today strike us as fairly innocuous charts of the world. But 500 years ago, an era when political power and religious authority were in flux, maps were fraught with implications that made owning the 'wrong' map a cause for execution. Into this world came Flemish mapmaker Gerard Mercator (1512 — 1594), whose new technique forged modern cartography as we know it. Mercator devised an ingenious compromise between accurately depicting the varying lengths of latitudinal circles between the poles and the equator and accurately depicting geographic details that is the basis for nearly all maps in use today. British historian Taylor (God's Fugitive) neatly surveys Mercator's invention along with the rest of his professional career, while delving into hardships caused by the Inquisition, which arrested him on suspicions of Lutheran heresy, and the bubonic plague, which touched his family. The background material on 16th-century exploration and European politics is effectively presented, helping readers to understand how Mercator was able to successfully navigate a web of political intrigues. Taylor also discusses modern attempts to 'correct' various distortions in the comparative sizes of major land masses. This occasionally lively chronicle should appeal to a core audience of history and geography buffs. 40 b&w illus. and 7 maps. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Book News Annotation:

Everyone today has seen versions of it a million times, but British historian Taylor is not concerned with the maps Mercator (1512-94) made, but with the world he made them of. He narrates the life of the man who launched modern cartography, within the intellectual, cultural, and political context of his age.
Annotation 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Almost extinguished by the Inquisition, Mercator's genius lay in making maps, and his achievement was nothing less than to revolutionize the study of geography. His "projection" was so visionary that it is used by NASA to map Mars today.

Synopsis:

A biography of the mapmaker who revolutionized geography

The story of discovery and mapmaking is one of pushing back shadows,” writes Andrew Taylor, and “none in the last two thousand years achieved as much as Gerard Mercator in extending the boundaries of what could be comprehended.” His life encompassed most of the turbulent, extraordinary sixteenth century, a time when revolutions would engulf religion, science, and civilization. Almost extinguished by the Inquisition, Mercators genius lay in making maps, and his achievement did nothing less than revolutionize the study of geography.

Appropriately for an era undergoing radical change, Mercator was full of contradiction, tied to knowledge and beliefs of the past while forging a new path. He never traveled beyond northern Europe, yet he had the imagination to draw the entire world anew and to solve a problem that had baffled sailors and scientists for centuries: how a curved Earth could be faithfully rendered on a flat surface so as to allow for accurate navigation. His “projection” was so visionary that it is used by NASA to map Mars today. Andrew Taylor has beautifully captured Mercator amidst the turmoil and opportunity of his times and the luminaries who inspired his talent—his teacher and business partner, Gemma Frisius; the English magus, John Dee; his benefactor, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, his cartographic collaborator, Abraham Ortelius. The World of Gerard Mercator is a masterful biography of one of the men most responsible for the modern world.

Synopsis:

Almost extinguished by the Spanish Inquisition, genius cartographer Mercator revolutionized the study of geography. His "projection" was so visionary that it is still used by NASA to map Mars today.

About the Author

Andrew Taylor is a historian and the author of God's Fugitive, a biography of the great British explorer C. M. Doughty. He lives in England.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802713773
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Subject:
General
Author:
Taylor, Andrew
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Cartography
Subject:
Earth Sciences - Geography
Subject:
BIO023000
Subject:
Mercator, Gerhard
Subject:
Cartographers - Netherlands
Subject:
Biography-Historical
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Series Volume:
The Mapmaker Who Rev
Publication Date:
20041101
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.26 x 5.72 x 1.15 in

Related Subjects

Biography » Historical
History and Social Science » Geography » General
History and Social Science » Geography » Mapping and Cartography
History and Social Science » World History » General

The World of Gerard Mercator
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 272 pages Walker & Company - English 9780802713773 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Maps today strike us as fairly innocuous charts of the world. But 500 years ago, an era when political power and religious authority were in flux, maps were fraught with implications that made owning the 'wrong' map a cause for execution. Into this world came Flemish mapmaker Gerard Mercator (1512 — 1594), whose new technique forged modern cartography as we know it. Mercator devised an ingenious compromise between accurately depicting the varying lengths of latitudinal circles between the poles and the equator and accurately depicting geographic details that is the basis for nearly all maps in use today. British historian Taylor (God's Fugitive) neatly surveys Mercator's invention along with the rest of his professional career, while delving into hardships caused by the Inquisition, which arrested him on suspicions of Lutheran heresy, and the bubonic plague, which touched his family. The background material on 16th-century exploration and European politics is effectively presented, helping readers to understand how Mercator was able to successfully navigate a web of political intrigues. Taylor also discusses modern attempts to 'correct' various distortions in the comparative sizes of major land masses. This occasionally lively chronicle should appeal to a core audience of history and geography buffs. 40 b&w illus. and 7 maps. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Almost extinguished by the Inquisition, Mercator's genius lay in making maps, and his achievement was nothing less than to revolutionize the study of geography. His "projection" was so visionary that it is used by NASA to map Mars today.
"Synopsis" by ,
A biography of the mapmaker who revolutionized geography

The story of discovery and mapmaking is one of pushing back shadows,” writes Andrew Taylor, and “none in the last two thousand years achieved as much as Gerard Mercator in extending the boundaries of what could be comprehended.” His life encompassed most of the turbulent, extraordinary sixteenth century, a time when revolutions would engulf religion, science, and civilization. Almost extinguished by the Inquisition, Mercators genius lay in making maps, and his achievement did nothing less than revolutionize the study of geography.

Appropriately for an era undergoing radical change, Mercator was full of contradiction, tied to knowledge and beliefs of the past while forging a new path. He never traveled beyond northern Europe, yet he had the imagination to draw the entire world anew and to solve a problem that had baffled sailors and scientists for centuries: how a curved Earth could be faithfully rendered on a flat surface so as to allow for accurate navigation. His “projection” was so visionary that it is used by NASA to map Mars today. Andrew Taylor has beautifully captured Mercator amidst the turmoil and opportunity of his times and the luminaries who inspired his talent—his teacher and business partner, Gemma Frisius; the English magus, John Dee; his benefactor, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, his cartographic collaborator, Abraham Ortelius. The World of Gerard Mercator is a masterful biography of one of the men most responsible for the modern world.

"Synopsis" by , Almost extinguished by the Spanish Inquisition, genius cartographer Mercator revolutionized the study of geography. His "projection" was so visionary that it is still used by NASA to map Mars today.
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