Synopses & Reviews
Cartography enthusiasts rejoice: the bestselling author of Just My Type
reveals the fascinating relationship between man and map.
Simon Garfield's Just My Type illuminated the world of fonts and made everyone take a stand on Comic Sans and care about kerning. Now Garfield takes on a subject even dearer to our fanatical human hearts: maps.
Imagine a world without maps. How would we travel? Could we own land? What would men and women argue about in cars? Scientists have even suggested that mapping not language is what elevated our prehistoric ancestors from ape-dom. Follow the history of maps from the early explorers maps and the awe-inspiring medieval Mappa Mundi to Google Maps and the satellite renderings on our smartphones, Garfield explores the unique way that maps relate and realign our history and reflect the best and worst of what makes us human.
Featuring a foreword by Dava Sobel and packed with fascinating tales of cartographic intrigue, outsize personalities, and amusing pocket maps” on an array of subjects from how to fold a map to the strangest maps on the Internet, On the Map is a rich historical tapestry infused with Garfield's signature narrative flair. Map-obsessives and everyone who loved Just My Type will be lining up to join Garfield on his audacious journey through time and around the globe.
"Innumerable modes of seeing the world unfold in this exuberant history of maps. Garfield (Just My Type) loosely follows the development of cartography, taking in the precociously scientific geography of the ancient Greeks; medieval England's Hereford Mappa Mundi, drenched in Christian allegory and teeming with mythical beasts; the Age of Exploration's heroic maps of newly discovered, sketchily drawn, and wrongly designated landmasses (America got its name from a cartographer's erroneous belief that Amerigo Vespucci discovered it); the 19th-century map that established cholera as a water-borne disease; modern GPS systems, and video game fantasy maps. Along the way he pursues diverting cartographical anecdotes and oddities, including the centuries-long consensus that California was an island, the lingering conceit that women can't read maps, and the appearance and disappearance of canals on maps of Mars. Garfield's coverage of this terrain, lavishly illustrated with reproductions of famous maps, is broad but paper-thin more a meandering guided tour than a systematic survey. Still, his droll humor and infectious curiosity will keep readers engrossed as he uncovers surprising ways in which maps chart our imaginations as much as they do the ground underfoot. Photos, illus., maps." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Mr. Garfield uses cartography as a springboard to similar explorations of how we have viewed not only the world around us, but ourselves." New York Journal of Books
"His droll humor and infectious curiosity will keep readers engrossed as he uncovers surprising ways in which maps chart our imaginations as much as they do the ground underfoot." Publishers Weekly
"A fine, fun presentation of the brand of cartography that continues to whet our imaginations." Kirkus Reviews
"Completely enthralling." Daily Mail (UK)
"Garfield has a genius for being sparked to life by esoteric enthusiasm and charming readers with his delight." Times (UK)
"Simon Garfield's new book is a rollicking sweep through map history, packed with curiosities and written with verve....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...a great book." Independent on Sunday (UK)
"A pub quizzers dream....Rather than over-romanticise the experience of map-reading, Garfield allows his varied, expertly researched stories to speak for themselves, and in so doing helps us see that there are fewer things in life more useful, rewarding and beautiful than a map that does what it's supposed to. Perhaps if Apple had read the book a few months ago, today's iPhone users would have a much better idea of where they're going." Daily Telegraph (UK)
About the Author
Simon Garfield is the author of twelve acclaimed books of nonfiction. He lives in London and St. Ives, Cornwall, and currently has a soft spot for Requiem Fine Roman and HT Gelateria.