What can I add to the description and the first review? This book describes how we came to know the shape of the earth, the distribution of land and oceans, mapmaking, the history of voyages of discovery, and how the earth was mapped. Later chapters descibe mapping the oceans, the moon, and even Mars. It is clearly written and well illustrated. I would have liked more on map projections, with illustrations. I also found the book to be pretty Americanocentric.
Many aspects of world history are seen in a different light after reading how man learned to accurately map and use maps for world exploration. European and Americas mapping is handled extensively. Africa and Asia are lacking in historical context, perhaps due to lost or unavailable records. Being published in the early 1980's, the book is missing the last 2 decades of technological advances of Global Positioning Systems in use today. Otherwise a WONDERFUL READ for anyone interested in geoscience, geography, maps, or history.
This book is not a coffee-table book full of beautiful maps - rather this is a book which skilfully and eloquently covers the history of mapmaking from primitive ancient charts to modern satellite-aided mapping of other worlds. Like good popular science books, 'The Mapmakers' enlightens the reader about the evolution of mapmaking, often at quite a technical level, without ever resorting to condescending prose or losing the reader with jargon. And best of all, it is richly embellished with historical detail. Mapmakers have been amongst the world's greatest adventurers, and the tales of bravery and hardship, all in the name of mapmaking, are as exciting as any. I heartily recommend this book to anyone with an interest in maps and the human drama which has accompanied their creation through the ages.