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A History of the World in Twelve Maps by [Brotton, Jerry]
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A History of the World in Twelve Maps Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Length: 492 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product description

Review

[A]rewarding journey for the intellectually intrepid.
Kirkus

If there s a single takeaway from this fascinating and richly illustrated book, it s that mapmaking is perennially contentious.
The Daily Beast

A stimulating and thought-provoking study of how the mixing of science, politics, and even religion influenced and continues to influence cartography.
Booklist
This history of 12 epoch-defining maps including Google s is a revelation Brotton offers an excellent guide to understanding these influential attempts at psychogeographical transcendence.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Maps allow the armchair traveler to roam the world, the diplomat to argue his points, the ruler to administer his country, the warrior to plan his campaigns and the propagandist to boost his cause. In addition, they can be extraordinarily beautiful All these facets are represented in British historian Jerry Brotton s rich A History of the World in 12 Maps.
Wall Street Journal

Author Jerry Brotton's book dips into maps spanning millenia of human experience, from Ptolemy's Geography (circa 150 AD) all the way up to Google Earth, the dynamic, increasingly omnipresent Internet Age way that we answer the age-old question "Where am I?" Along the way, he finds some marvelous things.
Christian Science Monitor

From the Hardcover edition."

"[A] rewarding journey for the intellectually intrepid."
--Kirkus

"If there's a single takeaway from this fascinating and richly illustrated book, it's that mapmaking is perennially contentious."
--The Daily Beast

"A stimulating and thought-provoking study of how the mixing of science, politics, and even religion influenced and continues to influence cartography."
--Booklist
"This history of 12 epoch-defining maps--including Google's--is a revelation... Brotton offers an excellent guide to understanding these influential attempts at psychogeographical transcendence."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Maps allow the armchair traveler to roam the world, the diplomat to argue his points, the ruler to administer his country, the warrior to plan his campaigns and the propagandist to boost his cause. In addition, they can be extraordinarily beautiful... All these facets are represented in British historian Jerry Brotton's rich A History of the World in 12 Maps."
--Wall Street Journal

"Author Jerry Brotton's book dips into maps spanning millenia of human experience, from Ptolemy's Geography (circa 150 AD) all the way up to Google Earth, the dynamic, increasingly omnipresent Internet Age way that we answer the age-old question "Where am I?" ...Along the way, he finds some marvelous things."
--Christian Science Monitor

From the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

Throughout history, maps have been fundamental in shaping our view of the world, and our place in it. But far from being purely scientific objects, maps of the world are unavoidably ideological and subjective, intimately bound up with the systems of power and authority of particular times and places. Mapmakers do not simply represent the world, they construct it out of the ideas of their age. In this scintillating book, Jerry Brotton examines the significance of 12 maps - from the almost mystical representations of ancient history to the satellite-derived imagery of today. He vividly recreates the environments and circumstances in which each of the maps was made, showing how each conveys a highly individual view of the world. Brotton shows how each of his maps both influenced and reflected contemporary events and how, by reading it, we can better understand the worlds that produced it. Although the way we map our surroundings is changing, Brotton argues that maps today are no more definitive or objective than they have ever been, but that they continue to define, shape and recreate the world. Readers of this book will never look at a map in quite the same way again.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 49406 KB
  • Print Length: 492 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (6 Sept. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008RYSM1K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #140,635 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'What is there?' is one of the world's basic questions; and maps can answer that question at one level; and have given a variety of different answers over the years, from the Hereford Mappa Mundi (there's a Christian story which the geography of the world reflects) to the 'Peters projection' ('there's a much bigger third world than we thought'). Maps can be prayed in aid in all sorts of discussion (who owns the spice trade - where exactly are the Moluccas in a world divided between Spain and Portgual?), including the military, the expeditionary and the 'geopolitical' world political story.

Each chapter takes a theme of world history; sets it in context (the Hereford chapter includes material on what canonisation takes and just why the map was produced - a possible visitor attraction akin to holy relicts that might bring pilgrims to a site); explains the map and its role in the theme.

I learned a lot from the book - but read it over a period of some weeks. Each chapter contains much to think about; and each contains a wealth of detail to support the argument. I have wondered whether it could have been shorter with a stronger emphasis on maps - and I suspect it could have been, but then it wouldn't have quite been this book. I doubt I will remember much of the learned detail - but I will be taking away some reflections on maps and the themes of world history. It's hard to ask for more.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jerry Brotton has written an outstanding history of mapping the world. It's a tremendous tour de force ranging from Ancient Babylon and Ptolemy to GPS and Google maps. Along the way it takes in many of the classic maps and, perhaps unsurprisingly, is particularly strong on the Renaissance period. As an aside its also an excellent insight into the voyages of 'discovery' made by, amongst others, the Portuguese and Castilian explorers.

Lusciously illustrated and tremendously readable, it doesn't just cover Western cartography. It discusses a Korean map and also encapsulates religion and philosophy and the role they have in creating a world view.

Easy to read and trmendously interesting. Well done Professor Brotton.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are quite a few books about maps these days, but this one is a pretty good choice, especially as there is a good number of colour reproductions of maps included. (Books about maps which are short of maps in them are more common than you might think!). The range of maps over time and space also makes this book a fun introduction to global history as well as to the craft of making maps.
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By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 2 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a very interesting and beautifully presented book with lovely illustrations. Jerry Brotton manages to present very scholarly and deeply thoughtful ideas in an accessible way, although you do need to concentrate hard as this is not a filleted digest but a full development of his theses - among them that that maps are political and ideological constructs and say a great deal about their makers and the society they live in as well as about the places they depict.

Dense and somewhat challenging but well worth the effort is probably the closest I can get to an overall description of the book, so if you like a thoroughly intelligent read which will make you think about things you hadn't really considered before, this is definitely for you
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Format: Paperback
To my regret I gave up on geography very early on in Schools days, map reading to me was a real chore and somewhat abstract. It was not until later on in life did I realise that maps could be much more, and the ideas presented by Jerry Brotton book `A History of the World in Twelve Maps'; manages to illustrate in an academic fashion, but not convoluted or highbrow, but rather palatable form the complexities behind maps in terms of their political, economic, social and very philosophical make-up. By looking at the people that put these paradigms together, and their need/reasons, that made put the maps they were working on in the first - but also the ideological pressures behind their decisions.

I give two broad examples; firstly the way in which European nations fighting over Africa in the 19th and early 20th century's used their cultural and diplomatic bias to `carve up' the so called `Dark Continent', these boundaries and so called countries within Africa are still reeling from effects of these map makers. There is Hitler's use of Maps, to help prescribe the need for `Living Space in the East'. His use of maps to attain further concessions from those in Europe who thought they could somehow placate him through diplomatic appeasement. Ultimately Hitler had map in mind for Europe and much larger Germany at its centre.

Mr Brotton's book is not necessarily a light read, but I found it fascinating, it throws out interesting ideas and concepts. Maps are not boring dusty items but full of information that may not always be self-evident; as one reviewer put it succinctly an `intelligent read' and I would recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
In lots of ways this is a fascinating book, picking up on the trend to look at a historical subject in the context of a single item or area. It was first started by the book A History of the World in 100 Objects.

There are lots of images of ancient maps, the detail and depth that the book goes into are impressive, and the credentials of the author are impeccable. And yet it doesn't work for me. There is a mass of detail in here, from some of the very first maps by Ptolemy and other significant ones like the Mappi Mundi in Hereford cathedral, to the Mercer projection and the origins of the OS, and onto Google earth. It covers all the really important maps and individuals involved in the creation of those maps, and has some superb images of the maps in colour.

What makes this book so difficult to read is the text; it feels like it is written like a academic paper most of the time. It does improve towards the end, but it did make it very hard reading for most of the book, and that is a shame.
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