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The Power Of Maps (Mappings: Society, Theory, Space) [Paperback]

Denis Wood
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 18.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

31 Dec 1992 0898624932 978-0898624939 New Ed
The author shows how maps are made to appear as unbiased reference objects, though they actually depict, like a photograph, a subjective point of view.
He discusses the signs and myths inherent in maps and suggests ways to decode the interests implicit in their representation.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Guilford Press; New Ed edition (31 Dec 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898624932
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898624939
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 14.8 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 429,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"If compelled to cite only a single book on cartography to stock a desert-island shelf or to assign to the eager novice, this is the automatic choice....Although I have been drawing and poring over maps, as well as reading about them, since childhood, I received more revelations about their essential nature and larger meanings from this one powerful, disturbing, totally convincing essay than from all the other books, articles, and lectures on the subject I have ever encountered.' --Wilbur Zelinsky, The Pennsylvania State University "Combining both topical issues relevant to lay readers and serious scholarship, Denis Wood's "The Power of Maps" will provoke, amuse, tweak, and inform anyone who has had occasion to use, or merely peruse, a map--which is to say, everyone. It is a relentless entertainment--relentlessly challenging to traditional assumptions about cartography, relentlessly witty as it deconstructs (read: demolishes) the pretense of neutral, scientific' map-making, and relentlessly contrary in reminding us that maps reflect social choices and serve particular political interests.' --Stephen S. Hall, author of "Mapping the Next Millennium" "Perhaps the simplest thing to say is that there is nothing quite like it! There are, of course, countless conventional accounts of cartography -- usually a combination of the history of cartography and a catalogue of its technical achievements-- but these are usually Whiggish tales which celebrate the progressive advance of cartography towards 'Truth.' Apart from a short discussion of so-called 'propaganda maps' (which is there simply to mark a departure from the norm, so to speak, an anomaly) these books rarely offer any sustained discussion of what one might call the cultural and political implications of maps and mapping. With the current explosion of interest in cultural politics and social theory, both inside and outside human geography, there is an obvious need for a discussion which resists those conv

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First Sentence
A cornucopia of images, bewildering in their variety: this is the world of maps. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Some enlightening ideas - annoying style 11 Jan 2007
By bing
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I cannot help thinking that the content of the book could have been conveyed in about 2 pages. Having said that it goes into detail about general points it makes, and some of them are not so obvious as they first seem.

It is the ... writing style which most annoyed me, it repeats points endlessly and uses ... punctuation styles that other authors (and English in general) use for other purposes. None of this adds to the experience and you have to struggle through it somewhat.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great multidisciplinary rant about maps and their uses. 20 Jun 1995
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Ranging from strident politics to Eco-like semiotics, this
book considers the map in all its forms, intents and uses.
The text is a little too preachy for much of the book,
but the quality of some of the ideas and the enthusiam
with which Wood presents them makes this bearable.

Wood's basic point is that maps are human constructs that
come with points of view. As such, questions about the
qualities of a map can't be answered without also asking
what the map was constructed for. With examples ranging
from the Peters Projection controversies, to election
gerrymandering, to natural resource utilization, he shows
how all maps are designed to both include and to exclude,
and how they embody a representation of the world in the
best tradition of Eco's "signs".

A great book, slightly marred by the writing style.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, challenging, and relevant 7 Sep 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you want to know what you can do with maps and what their creators are able to do with them, read this. It's an important book for anyone interested in the history of maps or in the ways we make political and social decisions on the basis of mapped information today. Yes, Wood does build a complex analytical structure for deciphering maps, but they are intricate objects and dense with information. This is an excellent source for anyone with a serious interest in the subject.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... the heights! 12 May 2002
By lance potter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you want the history of cartography or an explanation of its technicalities, this is not the book for you. If you want to see more clearly the human landscape in which maps are embedded and the human activities for which maps are constructed, this IS the book for you! Brilliant and fun and informative reading for cartographers and laymen. Denis Wood shows how maps represent societies as much as topographies. Grab your topo for rafting trip through time and place!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Power of Maps is powerful 26 Jun 2008
By Ralph L. Wahlstrom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read Wood's The Power of Maps a few years ago, and I've just come back to it. It is not light reading (although it's well written and a pleasure to read), and it isn't just about cartography. It is about the ways in which we use symbols to reflect our world's biases, power structures, hopes, fears and more. Maps are forms of cultural language, and Wood does not shrink from pulling the curtain away from the fact that they are also often arbitrary, manipulative, and simply wrong. At the same time, he celebrates them, and he encourages readers to come to maps with their critical antennae raised. So, maps can tell us much more about our world than most people realize. This is real scholarship, and it is intellectually rigorous, but it is also accessible, relevant and rich in content. It's a wonderful book.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An eye-opener 2 Oct 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a truly powerful and tremendously insightful discourse on the often "unseen" political uses to which maps can be put. It offers a rich and persuasively argued theoretical framework which goes well beyond its examples in its potential usefulness. Chapter Five "The Interest Lies in Signs and Myths" in particular is a tremendously thought-provoking and insightful analysis of maps and their legends and symbols as signs, signifiers and what they sometimes subconsciously signify to the consumer. A brilliant theoretical emendation of Roland Barthes' exposition of signs (Barthes' 1972 Mythologies). If you are willing to think along with the author this books may fundamentally change your perspective on a wide range of topics including nationalism, science and inter-state crises and conflicts over territory.
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