From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* Garfield follows up the best-seller Just My Type (2011) with an engrossing, endlessly fascinating history of maps. Following a foreword by popular-science writer Dava Sobel, he invites readers along on a trip through time and around the world that is enlightening and impossible to put down. The narrative dances from Marco Polo to Vinland, the first atlas ( the world in a book ), Lewis and Clark, the grids of Manhattan, and even the opening sequence of Casablanca. The people and places he has chosen to discuss are a collection of curiosities without peer, and even short pocket map visits with J. M. Barrie, the explorers Burke and Wills lost in Australia, and Winston Churchill's WWII Map Room are diversions not to be missed. The length and breadth of his scholarship are staggering, while the witty tone makes for the most convivial of literary guides. There are dusty archives, library echoes, and abandoned destinations, but also the most contemporary of surveys with brisk considerations of Google Maps and the MRI. Popular history is an overused term these days, but Garfield rewrites the definition by issuing an irresistible invitation to see the world, and delivering on his promise of the map as story, the map as life. --Mondor, Colleen Copyright 2010 Booklist
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Innumerable modes of seeing the world unfold in this exuberant history of maps. Garfield (Just My Type) loosely follows the development of cartography, taking in the precociously scientific geography of the ancient Greeks; medieval England's Hereford Mappa Mundi, drenched in Christian allegory and teeming with mythical beasts; the Age of Exploration's heroic maps of newly discovered, sketchily drawn, and wrongly designated landmasses (America got its name from a cartographer's erroneous belief that Amerigo Vespucci discovered it); the 19th-century map that established cholera as a water-borne disease; modern GPS systems, and video game fantasy maps. Along the way he pursues diverting cartographical anecdotes and oddities, including the centuries-long consensus that California was an island, the lingering conceit that women can't read maps, and the appearance and disappearance of canals on maps of Mars. Garfield's coverage of this terrain, lavishly illustrated with reproductions of famous maps, is broad but paper-thin-more a meandering guided tour than a systematic survey. Still, his droll humor and infectious curiosity will keep readers engrossed as he uncovers surprising ways in which maps chart our imaginations as much as they do the ground underfoot. Photos, illus., maps. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Garfield's best-selling Just My Type (2011) was about typefaces. Now he's done the same for maps. The result is not deep history but it is pleasurable history nonetheless: readers will enjoy this romp through 16,000 years of mapmaking, beginning with a hunter's map found in a cave in northern Spain and proceeding all the way to today's GPS, Google Maps, video games, and Me Mapping. Aimed at educated lay readers who want both to nourish their mind and divert it, the book dispenses a good deal of information in the process: the problems the earth's curvature has posed in its representation, how maps reflect national and cultural biases, how maps have been used to solve problems like the spread of cholera in 1854 London, the technical progress made in mapping. "Maps are only human, after all," quips Garfield. VERDICT Readers of popular history will enjoy this entertaining and informative book. This is popular history but not "history light."[See Prepub Alert, 7/22/12.]-David Keymer, Modesto, CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.