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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A History of the World in Twelve Maps, 12 Nov. 2012
This review is from: A History of the World in Twelve Maps (Hardcover)
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In 1881, in the ruins of an ancient Babylonian city named Sippar, an intrepid archaeologist, discovered a 2,500 year old clay tablet. Now on display in the British Museum it proved to be the first known map of the world. This is the first fascinating and compelling story in a journey that Jerry Brotton takes the reader on spanning that first birds eye view of the world right up to the Google Earth map which dominates today.

The twelve maps all tell a different perspective as most maps tell you as much about the society that produced them and the beliefs of the cartographer as they do about the world. The author argues there is no such thing as a neutral map, as each one is making selective decisions. Maps were meant to make a statement about political power and authority.

What is apparent is the fact that you can not put a globe onto a flat piece of paper and therefore lines of longitude and latitude are stretched as with the first atlas created by Mercator in the late sixteenth century.

After two millenia, maps having been made on stone, animal skins and paper are now digitized and virtual. Yet, the author, suggests, the new innovations are not without controversy.

Jerry Brotton has written and produced a highly readable, engaging and interesting book. He has perfectly combined the dual themes of history and map making against a background of different cultures, politics and beliefs.

This is a book to be explored, and enjoyed. You will never look at a map, the same way again. Recommended.
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