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Map Addict Hardcover – 30 Apr 2009
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Mike Parker is 'a marvellous guide: enthusiastic, generous and lucid', Jan Morris
'An historical aside from Mike Parker is worth a monograph from others', New Welsh Review
‘Parker proves a witty and engaging guide’ Guardian
'A highly engaging and thoughtful, haphazard and personal, meander around maps and map-related arcana'See all Product description
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The style of writing is informal, blending cartography history, facts, trivia, anecdotes and autobiography. In the first two thirds or so of the book, Mike Parker looks primarily at the history & techniques of map-making intermixed with interesting trivia. For example, I was fascinated to read about the strenuous efforts of laying glass rods & metal chains in a specially dug ditches stretching for miles to establish the first two baselines for the early OS maps in the 18th century. Interesting trivia included places like Jungholz, an enclave of Austria that is only joined to the mother country by a single point, the summit of a mountain. Then he had me scurrying to a website that listed "secret" military bases (the bibliography has a useful list of websites).
Scattered throughout this mine of cartographic information are personal anecdotes that become more prominent in the final part of the book which reads like a personal odyssey. I didn't mind this as the author is amusing, honest and thought-provoking. I liked a lot of what he said, though I disagreed with his rant against satnav ("pratnav") as evidenced by the many map apps I have on my phone & iPad.
Reading this book is like sitting in a pub with a knowledgeable & opinionated friend, who ends up sharing more personal stuff as the beer works its magic. It is not a textbook or a seat in the classroom of a college professor presenting only facts and data on maps.
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