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Books & Authors

Maps and Territories

Mapmaking is one of the oldest forms of art, and maps—whether of Civil War battles, the Roman Empire, Atlantis or the canals of Mars—invariably reflect the perspectives of the cultures from which they originate, making them a valuable and fascinating guide to human history. Take a look at the books below if you would like to learn more about how maps reflect and influence human life.

 To the Ends of the Earth: 100 Maps That Changed the World by Jeremy Harwood

This thought-provoking history focuses on 100 key maps that changed human understanding of the world, changed the course of mapmaking itself or influenced the path of history. It reveals how different peoples have represented their world through the ages and addresses how maps have been used for navigation, exploration and propaganda.

 Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations by Vincent Virga and the Library of Congress

Cartographia offers a stunning array of 200 of the most beautiful and fascinating maps in existence. These maps show how our idea of the world has shifted over time, and each map tells its unique story about nations, politics and ambitions. The chosen images introduce the reader to an exciting new way of reading maps as travelogues: from the earliest of man's imaginings to our current attempts at charting cyberspace.

 Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities by Frank Jacobs

Spanning centuries, continents and the realms of outer space and the imagination, this collection combines beautiful full-color illustrations with quirky statistics and smart social commentary. Brimming with trivia and idiosyncratic lore, Strange Maps is a fascinating tour of all things weird and wonderful in the world of cartography.

 Maps: Their Untold Stories by Rose Mitchell and Andrew Janes

 A map is a snapshot of a place, a city, a nation or even the world at a given point in time, fascinating for what they tell us about the way our ancestors saw themselves and their place in the world. This magnificent collection looks at a variety of maps, from those found in 14th Century manuscripts to sea charts and military campaign maps.

 On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks by Simon Garfield

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 apedom. Follow the history of maps from the early explorers' maps to Google Maps and explore the unique way that maps relate and realign our history—and reflect the best and worst of what makes us human.

 The Art of the Map: An Illustrated History of Map Elements and Embellishments by Dennis Reinhartz

This lavishly illustrated history of the golden age of cartography explores not only the embellishments on maps but also what they reveal about the world in which they were created. Here there be monsters; ships actual and archetypical; fauna ranging from buffalo to unicorns; godlike beings and fantastic depictions of native peoples.

 Vargic's Miscellany of Curious Maps: Mapping the Modern World by Martin Vargic

Extensively mapping various subjects from all corners of our modern civilization, Vargic's Miscellany of Curious Maps is a fresh and thoughtful look at Western culture, showcasing conceptual maps like The Music Map, The Map of YouTube and The Corporate World Map as well as mini-maps of heavy metal bands per capita, the probability of getting struck by lightning, average penis length and NSA surveillance rate.

 Great Maps by Jerry Brotton

From Ptolemy's world map to the Hereford's Mappa Mundi, through Mercator's map of the world to the latest maps of the Moon and Google Earth, Great Maps provides a fascinating overview of cartography through the ages. Revealing the stories behind 55 historical maps by analyzing graphic close-ups, Great Maps examines why each map was commissioned, who it was for and how they influenced navigation, propaganda, power, art and politics.

 A History of the Twentieth Century in 100 Maps by Tim Bryars and Tom Harper

The twentieth century was a golden age of mapmaking. Maps proliferated and permeated almost every aspect of daily life, not only chronicling geography and history but also charting and conveying myriad political and social agendas. This book celebrates the visual variety of maps and the hilarious, shocking or poignant narratives of the individuals and institutions caught up in their production and use.

 The Art of Illustrated Maps: A Complete Guide to Creative Mapmaking's History, Process and Inspiration by John Roman

While many books exist on the subject of cartography, this is the first to fully explore the world of conceptual, imaginative mapping. This book traces the 2000-year history of a branch of illustration that historians claim to be the oldest variety of primitive art.

 Cosmigraphics: Picturing Space Through Time by Michael Benson

Full of artful and profound illustrations and maps, Cosmigraphics chronicles more than 1000 years of humanity's ever-expanding understanding of the size and shape of space itself. He shows how the invention of the telescope inspired visions of unimaginably distant places and explains why today we turn to supercomputer simulations to reveal deeper truths about space-time.

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