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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.
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on 17 November 2007
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.
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on 8 March 2006
Beautifully produced book which concentrates on the political and social history of maps rather than the details of mapping and cartography.
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on 8 January 2014
A fascinating book with fabulous illustrations, interesting and unusual wrtitten content, pleasant large and easy to see details. Bought one as a present, and then 9one for myself!
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on 28 December 2009
Really beautiful, quality maps. Very interesting information on social & cultural history of mapping - excellent for map enthusiasts.
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on 14 July 2013
A wonderful start to looking at the wide diversity of maps produced through the eras, with top quality illustrations. An ideal gift.
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on 17 June 2013
It's a cracking thing to read! And moreover its great to simply look at. The text is clear and concise.
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