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The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps Hardcover – 3 Nov 2016

4.8 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; 01 edition (3 Nov. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471159450
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471159459
  • Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 2.9 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘A bonkers book…Highly recommended’  (Andrew Marr)

‘A spectacular, enjoyable and eye-opening read... A wonderful book, with beautiful illustrations throughout’  (Jonathan Ross)

Beautifully illustrated…brain-boggling…an excursion into the minds of men imagining an as yet uncharted world’  (Spectator)

This intriguing book…shows how places that aren’t there can endure, sometimes for centuries, once a map-maker has inked them in’  (The Times)

Beautiful… Brooke-Hitching [has] an eye for a good story and his book is gloriously illustrated with ancient mistaken maps, each accompanied by a thoroughly researched tale of the men whose errors led to them.’  (Daily Express)

Extraordinary’  (Historia Magazine)

‘Excellent... Arranged alphabetically in fifty-eight short chapters, with lavish deployment of illustrations, the book provides a captivating chronicle of our battle with ignorance’  (Literary Review)

Unreservedly recommended’  (The Monocle)

‘From the magnetic mountain at the north pole to Australia’s inland sea, Edward Brooke-Hitching charts five centuries of misrepresentative maps.’  (The Guardian)

A rich selection… [that] shows how lively minds made use of limited knowledge, but also how rumour, guesswork and downright lies can persist in the scholarly imagination.’  (The Economist)

‘One of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen in my life…full of fascinating quirky things.’  (Jen Campbell, author Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops)

‘The fascination and beauty of maps both emerge clearly in this well-written, witty and thoughtful book…this is a spirited and enjoyable study’  (Standpoint)

Exquisitely produced… Gorgeous illustrations of countries and islands that were once thought to exist...For any fans of maps this is a must’  (The Australian)

'Fascinating ... and beautifully illustrated' (Rosamund Urwin Evening Standard)

'The Phantom Atlas describes some 50 "myths, lies and blunders" and illustrates them in delightful detail...deserve[s] a place on the coffee table, but only after it's been read: there is as much to absorb as to see.' (John Ure Country Life)

About the Author

The son of an antiquarian book dealer, Edward Brooke-Hitching became an award-winning documentary director making films that examine the eccentric side of British life. He lives in London.


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This most unusual book is about lands of make-believe. Places on maps simply don't exist. The author is an incurable cartophile. He explains how places that are not there can endure for hundreds of years once a map maker has put them on a map. If it's on a map it must be true just like what's on a calculator must be true. But often it isn't.

The author shows in this witty and entertaining book that many people wish these phantom places were real, and he gives several examples such as the island in the gulf of Mexico. Conspiracy theories help to perpetuate the ghost places. In this case it was claimed that the CIA had destroyed it. These places existed all over the globe, not just in remote places. The reasons why such places exist for so long are varied. Myth plays a part, inaccuracy is another reason, and deliberate lies another. Gregor McGregor was a liar, and a soldier of fortune. He invented a land of abundant gold, Poyais. He conned colonists to go there. They discovered not gold but swamps. Thule the unknown land believed to be in their engagement Northfield appeared in the writings of the Ancient Greeks, then Virgil and Pliny. In the 1500's it was placed near the Orkney Islands surrounded by sea monsters.

At one time, maps showed California as an island, Patagonia as a region of giants. These misconceptions endured for ages. Sandy island in the Coral Sea existed until 2012, seven years after Google maps. In 1875, 123 non existent places were eradicated by the Royal Navy.

A chart of 1913 shows two Lands in the Artic that don't exist. The chart that shows them attests to the intense rivalry between Cook and Peary as they competed to be the first to reach the North Pole. There are numerous other example given.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a truly delightful book .. purchased this book for a friend who loves the atlas and maps as much as I do. Its printed on good quality paper .. and a nice size for the book case. The images are delightful and the text informative.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought as a gift so I've not read it, just flicked through. Lots of illustrations, good quality all round. Bought hardback and it is impressive to look at. Very interesting subject matter, I will have to borrow it from the recipient ;-)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Maps, we all know of them, we all use them but can we really trust them? What if they weren't drawn from reality but from belief? This incredible book catalogues some of the weirdest, wildest and wackiest things, locations and places to find themselves on a map and just as importantly why they are there. Great to sit and read through or to just dip into when you fancy. My step father is a cartographer - I had to buy him a copy so He'd leave mine alone! This book is thoroughly researched, well writted, wonderfully illustrated and beautifully illustrated it will grace any bookshelf. I can't recommend it enough!
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Format: Hardcover
Fascinating book and filled with great illustrations. Really great and filled with what must have been some meticulous research and written with a wry sense of humour that gives it a great twist on other books of its type.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very interesting take on cartography and the history of the thoughts of the men involved
I would have like more discussion of the reasons that voyagers made false claims It was covered but as the raison d'être for this book I would have been interested to read more
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is fascinating, a great present for the boffins of any house.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stunning book. Quick delivery.
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