6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Potted history of map making.,
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This review is from: On The Map: Why the world looks the way it does (Hardcover)
Simon Garfield has written a few non-fiction works now and this latest effort which takes us on a historical tour of map making is mostly successful. The result is less a history of cartography and more a series of articles on different aspects of map making and publishing. The scope ranges from the London A to Z to the mapping of the planets; from the Mappable Mundi to maps of virtual worlds popular with computer gamers and from the early maps of the New World to the latest maps of the human brain. Many of these subjects would be worthy of books by themselves and as such, we can only get a taster in this volume. Nevertheless, there is some interesting stuff here and I certainly learned a few things that I did not know previously. One small quibble is that the many maps reproduced in this volume are presented in black and white and in miniature - probably unavoidable for a pocket-sized volume but it does detract from the work a little. As a collection of essays, some are more interesting than others and of course, we don't have a specific story to follow. I'd also argue that the title is a little misleading as I don't believe that the book explains "why the world looks the way it does". Still, three stars would be a bit churlish for such a well-researched effort so four stars was my verdict.