This is a beautifully produced book - with large pages displaying the example maps in excellent resolution. The author takes a historical trip from the very earliest maps, scratched on whatever came to hand, up to the latest satellite images of the earth - which are more photograph than map. The book also follows the story of human civilisation, and explains how maps have been pivotal in many phases of history - for explorers, the military, planners etc. My only gripe is that the text provided for each map is limited to one (facing) page - which limits the potential for detail.
This is a wonderful book that has lasted on our coffee table for longer than most!
The book steps through history from the earliest maps to the latest digital offerings. Each page has a full size extract from the map in question and a facing page that gives background and often a small thumbnail of the context or some detail of the whole. The pages are arranged and cross-referenced in date order. Some of the more striking maps have additional double page spreads, and there are two-page commentaries on tangental topics from time to time.
The text is fascinating and brings lots of world history that I kind-of new about into a new context: the gradually expanding knowledge of the world. Seeing how california went from island to peninsula, how the fabled southern continent appears and disappears, how sea-monsters gradually die out, who spain, the netherlands or the UK is at war with, and so on.
I suspect this isn't a book that will teach map-fans much (but is so beautiful to own nontheless), but for those with a casual interest I think it is a complete gem.