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On the Map: why the World Looks the Way it…
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On the Map: why the World Looks the Way it Does (2012)

by Simon Garfield

Other authors: Dava Sobel (Foreword)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
540None18,556 (3.8)1 / 10
  1. 10
    A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books by Nicholas A. Basbanes (waitingtoderail)
    waitingtoderail: Does for book collecting what this book does for map collecting.
  2. 10
    Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey by Rachel Hewitt (John_Vaughan)
  3. 10
    The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson (John_Vaughan)
  4. 00
    Mapping for money : maps, plans and topographic paintings and their role in Dutch overseas expansion during the 16th and by Kees Zandvliet (marieke54)
  5. 00
    A Little Book of Language by David Crystal (elenchus)
    elenchus: Garfield's On the Map and Crystal's A Little Book of Language share a similar approach to different subjects: each provides many short chapters on separate individual topics as means of surveying their field, history of cartography in the case of Garfield and the broad field of linguistics for Crystal. Each chapter is 4-5 pages, accompanied or separated by sidebars on related questions or facts. I enjoyed them both as galleries providing an overview and appetizer for further reading.… (more)
  6. 00
    London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets by Peter Ackroyd (John_Vaughan)
  7. 00
    The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology by Simon Winchester (John_Vaughan)
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English (35)  Spanish (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
There is a lot here about the history of maps, at least certain maps chosen for their unique or milestone properties. The book includes fantasy maps from video games and novels, as well as subway maps, parody maps, theories about map-reading, and primitive maps. I would have liked more depth than this, but this book covered plenty of breadth in the subject. ( )
  Pferdina | Mar 30, 2014 |
Being a series of vignettes considering various curiosities from the history of maps. Some of these are relatively conventional historical topics such as cartographic errors and technical developments in both cartography and physical production, but most are a little fringier, dealing with, inter alia, map thieves, high-end dealers and collectors, and maps in board and video games, occasionally going rather off-topic to brain "mapping" and maps and evolution. It's difficult to call the book "too long" when almost all the chapters are individually quite interesting, but it isn't a short book, and, as the weeks roll by, most readers will become a bit less enchanted by his interesting digressions. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | Jan 9, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Not bad as an comprehensive overview. Definitely more than I ever wanted to know about maps, but most of it was interesting nonetheless. At times I felt he was trying to hard to fill up the book with information (to make it "book sized" and sell more copies, perhaps) but in the end I learned a few things and really that's what I'm reading these books for anyway. -KA ( )
  invisiblelizard | Dec 20, 2013 |
Thank you Goodreads and Gotham for the advance readers copy!

Mapping the moral Christian's journey, mapping the Facebook connections around the world, mapping the brain, mapping you as the dot walking across Central Park, mapping Mars, mapping the poles, mapping disease and poverty, mapping for fun, as satire, as a political statement... Garfield sets out from the beginnings of mapping and explores nearly all aspects of this pictorial depiction of surroundings and imagined places, from triangulation to map collecting. He writes about gallant explorers, a California that drifts away now and then, doomed voyages, misnamed continents, and perhaps most interestingly, map enthusiasts who, one way or another, made their mark in the way we draw and see the world. From cave drawings to atlases to globes, Garfield seems to cover great distances seamlessly. In a way, his book is also "travel by map," similar to the little plane leading a dotted line in Hollywood films, except the book travels through space, time, and perhaps other [imagined] dimensions.

Recommended for those who like maps, travel, and history. ( )
1 vote bluepigeon | Dec 15, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Mr. Garfield does not pretend to be a serious historian. (Neither did Ken Jennings, whose 2011 "Maphead" covered some of the same terrain.) His gift is for cherry-picking factoids, and his latest book, "On the Map," is full of little conversation pieces. But this book is diminished by the way it has been produced, with an alluringly tinted antique map of Africa on its cover and nothing but smudgy gray illustrations inside.
added by lorax | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Dec 18, 2012)
 
There is a great deal that is good and charming and fun about this book. But overall, Garfield seems like that most frustrated of soldiers, the general who has to deal in the field with a battle to be fought at that nightmare spot right in the middle of a swamp of information irrelevant to his needs, and where no soldier ever wants to be: He is floundering in a sea of facts, lost at the join of four maps.
 

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Simon Garfieldprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sobel, DavaForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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In December 2010, Facebook released a new map of the world that was as astonishing as it was beautiful.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 159240779X, Hardcover)

Cartography enthusiasts rejoice: the bestselling author of Just My Type reveals the fascinating relationship between man and map.
 
 
Simon Garfield’s Just My Type illuminated the world of fonts and made everyone take a stand on Comic Sans and care about kerning. Now Garfield takes on a subject even dearer to our fanatical human hearts: maps.
 
Imagine a world without maps. How would we travel? Could we own land? What would men and women argue about in cars? Scientists have even suggested that mapping—not language—is what elevated our prehistoric ancestors from ape-dom. Follow the history of maps from the early explorers’ maps and the awe-inspiring medieval Mappa Mundi to Google Maps and the satellite renderings on our smartphones, Garfield explores the unique way that maps relate and realign our history—and reflect the best and worst of what makes us human.
 
Featuring a foreword by Dava Sobel and packed with fascinating tales of cartographic intrigue, outsize personalities, and amusing “pocket maps” on an array of subjects from how to fold a map to the strangest maps on the Internet, On the Map is a rich historical tapestry infused with Garfield’s signature narrative flair. Map-obsessives and everyone who loved Just My Type will be lining up to join Garfield on his audacious journey through time and around the globe.
 

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:44:45 -0400)

Examines the pivotal relationship between mapping and civilization, demonstrating the unique ways that maps relate and realign history, and shares engaging cartography stories and map lore.

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