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Customer Review

73 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining history of maps and cartographic ephemera, 15 Oct. 2012
This review is from: On The Map: Why the world looks the way it does (Hardcover)
I don't think the author will mind if I say this book is not strictly for cartography academics, but for the more general reader with an interest in maps, mapping, exploration and the like. In this regard it succeeds admirably, using a breezy style to whisk you through a potted history of the subject which is easy to read and understand. I have to confess that there was a fair bit in here that was already familiar to me and would also be familiar to anyone with an interest in maps already. For example there isn't much in the chapter on the Ordnance Survey that isn't in Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey but nevertheless it is still worth reading within the context of this book. having said that I wasn't aware of the The Mountains of Kong - `a Chain of Great Mountains' - which appeared on James Rennell's map in 1798 and didn't actually exist, so there is something for everyone here.
Split into short and sharp chapters this is a book that lends itself equally to a solid read through, or as a book to pick through as and when you get the chance. Lavishly illustrated, as the saying goes, I would caution anyone thinking of getting this on Kindle that these illustrations and maps don't reproduce well on the Kindle itself but are fine if using a tablet or the Kindle App on a laptop
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Oct 2012 10:00:40 BDT
enthusiast says:
the illustrations in book format are really pretty awful - a dull greyscale effect which sucks out the vitality of the maps - the text is a good read but let down so badly by the illustrations - strange how the cover jacket and inside cover maps are in excellent colour.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Oct 2012 09:00:45 BDT
Big Jim says:
I must admit that I usually get this sort of book in paper because of the illustrations but didn't this time for some strange reason. To be fair the illustrations on the kindle edition if read on a computer or tablet aren't bad, end even the kindle itself has a zoom feature which helps a bit but overall, to get a decent view of any of the maps mentioned in here one of those coffee table books that are available quite cheaply are a must.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Nov 2012 14:39:11 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Nov 2012 21:37:40 GMT
The maps reproduced in this work really are badly done. There is little point in reproducing a map at a scale which makes most of the text in it unreadable.
But worse than that is the al-Idrisi map, which is reproduced (on page 64) as a mirror-image. My guess is that the editor noticed the map originally had south at the top, and decided to "correct" it. But instead of rotating it, so as to put south at the bottom and east at the right, someone flipped it, putting south at the bottom and leaving east at the left. And then author, editor, and proof-reader didn't even notice that there was now something seriously wrong with this map of the Mediterranean basin.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Dec 2012 21:29:06 GMT
M. Ellingham says:
Just a note, as editor of the book at Profile: you are quite right, we printed the Al-Idrisi map in mirror image, by mistake, on the first print-run. But we corrected it immediately so if you have one with the error, it is a rarity! My apologies, nonetheless. However, I do disagree that there is no point in printing maps at small scale. Given the scale of most significant maps, there really is no choice: they are often metres wide, not just feet. Our reproductions are intended only to sample and give an impression. And to make the book more fun to read. It's very much a reading book, full of (very good) stories.
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