1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very interesting but a challenging read,
This review is from: A History of the World in Twelve Maps (Hardcover)
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I found the subject matter of this book to be of great interest and it probably says more about me than it does the author that I found this a challenging read. The concept is that for as long as people have been producing maps of the world they have put their own cultural spin on those maps. Whether it is the ancient Babylonian stone tablet that starts the book where the centre of the world is Babylon, the Hereford mappa mund which has Jerusalem as its pivot through to the controversial Peters projection which sought to address the Eurocentric, "imperialist" bias of the standard Mercator projection in the 1960s and 1970s.
Brotton is really good at explaining the geometry of the production of maps and how the various map makers through history used the latest advances in science and technology to map the world. He also charts the development of the "science" of geography and of how the cultural norms and ideologies of the map makers influence their maps. The book takes us all the way through to Google earth and the readily available geo-images we now have access to on our tablets and smart phones.
This is a well written book, explaining the advances in map making and their results and bringing out the personalities and biographies of the cartographers. As I said, it probably says more about me that in some of the more technical passages I found myself losing concentration and the book took me longer to finish than many of the historical books I have read. I found, however, that it was actually worth the effort.