Synopses & Reviews
champion and New York Times
bestselling author Ken Jennings explores the world of maps and map obsessives, "a literary gem" (The Atlantic
) now available in paperback.
It may come as no surprise that as a kid, Ken Jennings slept with a Hammond World Atlas under his pillow. Now, with Maphead, he delivers "a delightful mix of lore and reportage that illuminates the longing to know where we are." (Publishers Weekly)
Jennings takes readers on a world tour of geo-geeks from the London Map Fair to the librarians in the bowels of the Library of Congress, from the pre-pubescent geniuses at the National Geographic Bee to the computer programmers at Google Earth. In each chapter, Jennings delves into a different aspect of maps, culture, and history, including the maps of fiction and fantasy and hobbies like highpointing and geocaching. Maphead also explores the way cartography has shaped our history, suggesting that the impulse to make and read maps is as relevant today as it has ever been.
"Whether you're a casual cartography ogler or a hardcore geography geek, Maphead will whisk you away into a wonderland that exists where two of the greatest horizons of the human condition, humor and curiosity, converge." (The Atlantic)
'I admit,— I'm a geographic klutz, constantly turned around the wrong way. But I never felt lost for a moment inside Maphead. Forget new worlds: Jennings's charming, witty account reveals a whole other universe."; Sam Kean, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Disappearing Spoon
"Ken Jennings offers an engaging excursion through the worlds of map making, map collecting, and map use. If you enjoy maps, don't miss it." Mark Monmonier, author of How to Lie with Maps
"A literary gem . . . Whether you're a casual cartography ogler or a hardcore geography geek, Maphead will whisk you away into a wonderland that exists where two of the greatest horizons of the human condition, humor and curiosity, converge." The Atlantic
“Jennings is a very witty, insightful writer and has written an entertaining and educational book about maps and the geeks who obsess over them.” —Pauline Frommer, travel writer and founding editor of Frommers.com
"It's a fun read that's not just for wonks." The Salt Lake Tribune
“[A] spirited layman’s history of cartography.” —Harpers
Ken Jennings takes readers on a world tour of geogeeks from the London Map Fair to the bowels of the Library of Congress, from the prepubescent geniuses at the National Geographic Bee to the computer programmers at Google Earth. Each chapter delves into a different aspect of map culture: highpointing, geocaching, road atlas rallying, even the "unreal estate" charted on the maps of fiction and fantasy. Jennings also considers the ways in which cartography has shaped our history, suggesting that the impulse to make and read maps is as relevant today as it has ever been.
From the "Here be dragons" parchment maps of the Age of Discovery to the spinning globes of grade school to the postmodern revolution of digital maps and GPS, Maphead is filled with intriguing details, engaging anecdotes, and enlightening analysis. If you're an inveterate map lover yourself—or even if you're among the cartographically clueless who can get lost in a supermarket—let Ken Jennings be your guide to the strange world of mapheads.
About the Author
Ken Jennings grew up in Seoul, South Korea, where he became a daily devotee of the quiz show Jeopardy! In 2004, he successfully auditioned for a spot on the show and went on an unprecedented seventy-four game victory streak worth $2.52 million. Jennings’s book Brainiac, about his Jeopardy! adventures, was a critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, as were his follow-up books Maphead and Because I Said So! Jennings lives outside Seattle with his wife, Mindy, his son, Dylan, his daughter, Caitlin, and a small, excitable dog named Chance.