The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology

3.81 avg rating
( 9,874 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780061767906: The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology

In 1793, a canal digger named William Smith made a startling discovery. He found that by tracing the placement of fossils, which he uncovered in his excavations, one could follow layers of rocks as they dipped and rose and fell—clear across England and, indeed, clear across the world—making it possible, for the first time ever, to draw a chart of the hidden underside of the earth. Smith spent twenty-two years piecing together the fragments of this unseen universe to create an epochal and remarkably beautiful hand-painted map. But instead of receiving accolades and honors, he ended up in debtors' prison, the victim of plagiarism, and virtually homeless for ten years more.

The Map That Changed the World is a very human tale of endurance and achievement, of one man's dedication in the face of ruin. With a keen eye and thoughtful detail, Simon Winchester unfolds the poignant sacrifice behind this world-changing discovery.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Once upon a time there lived a man who discovered the secrets of the earth. He traveled far and wide, learning about the world below the surface. After years of toil, he created a great map of the underworld and expected to live happily ever after. But did he? Simon Winchester (The Professor and the Madman) tells the fossil-friendly fairy tale life of William Smith in The Map That Changed the World.

Born to humble parents, Smith was also a child of the Industrial Revolution (the year of his birth, 1769, also saw Josiah Wedgwood open his great factory, Etruria, Richard Arkwright create his first water-powered cotton-spinning frame, and James Watt receive the patent for the first condensing steam engine). While working as surveyor in a coal mine, Smith noticed the abrupt changes in the layers of rock as he was lowered into the depths. He came to understand that the different layers--in part as revealed by the fossils they contained--always appeared in the same order, no matter where they were found. He also realized that geology required a three-dimensional approach. Smith spent the next 20 some years traveling throughout Britain, observing the land, gathering data, and chattering away about his theories to those he met along the way, thus acquiring the nickname "Strata Smith." In 1815 he published his masterpiece: an 8.5- by 6-foot, hand-tinted map revealing "A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales."

Despite this triumph, Smith's road remained more rocky than smooth. Snubbed by the gentlemanly Geological Society, Smith complained that "the theory of geology is in the possession of one class of men, the practice in another." Indeed, some members of the society went further than mere ostracism--they stole Smith's work. These cartographic plagiarists produced their own map, remarkably similar to Smith's, in 1819. Meanwhile the chronically cash-strapped Smith had been forced to sell his prized fossil collection and was eventually consigned to debtor's prison.

In the end, the villains are foiled, our hero restored, and science triumphs. Winchester clearly relishes his happy ending, and his honey-tinged prose ("that most attractively lovable losterlike Paleozoic arthropod known as the trilobite") injects a lot of life into what seems, on the surface, a rather dry tale. Like Smith, however, Winchester delves into the strata beneath the surface and reveals a remarkable world. --Sunny Delaney

About the Author:

Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of many books, including The Professor and the Madman, The Men Who United the States, The Map That Changed the World, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and Krakatoa, all of which were New York Times bestsellers and appeared on numerous best and notable lists. In 2006, Winchester was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen. He resides in western Massachusetts.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Winchester, Simon
ISBN 10: 0061767905 ISBN 13: 9780061767906
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2009. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # VC-9780061767906

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 7.36
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Winchester, Simon
ISBN 10: 0061767905 ISBN 13: 9780061767906
New Quantity Available: 7
Seller:
Pbshop
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2009. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # IB-9780061767906

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.07
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Winchester, Simon
Published by Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN 10: 0061767905 ISBN 13: 9780061767906
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Collins Publishers. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0061767905

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 8.72
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Winchester, Simon
Published by Harper Perennial 4/28/2009 (2009)
ISBN 10: 0061767905 ISBN 13: 9780061767906
New Paperback or Softback Quantity Available: 9
Seller:
BargainBookStores
(Grand Rapids, MI, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Perennial 4/28/2009, 2009. Paperback or Softback. Book Condition: New. The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology. Book. Bookseller Inventory # BBS-9780061767906

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 12.75
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Winchester, Simon
Published by Harper Perennial
ISBN 10: 0061767905 ISBN 13: 9780061767906
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Mediaoutlet12345
(Springfield, VA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Perennial. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0061767905 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Bookseller Inventory # SWATI2132261004

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 9.02
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Winchester, Simon
Published by Harper Perennial
ISBN 10: 0061767905 ISBN 13: 9780061767906
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Qwestbooks COM LLC
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Perennial. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0061767905. Bookseller Inventory # Z0061767905ZN

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 13.30
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Author and Historian Simon Winchester
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States (2009)
ISBN 10: 0061767905 ISBN 13: 9780061767906
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1793, a canal digger named William Smith made a startling discovery. He found that by tracing the placement of fossils, which he uncovered in his excavations, one could follow layers of rocks as they dipped and rose and fell--clear across England and, indeed, clear across the world--making it possible, for the first time ever, to draw a chart of the hidden underside of the earth. Smith spent twenty-two years piecing together the fragments of this unseen universe to create an epochal and remarkably beautiful hand-painted map. But instead of receiving accolades and honors, he ended up in debtors prison, the victim of plagiarism, and virtually homeless for ten years more. The Map That Changed the World is a very human tale of endurance and achievement, of one man s dedication in the face of ruin. With a keen eye and thoughtful detail, Simon Winchester unfolds the poignant sacrifice behind this world-changing discovery. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780061767906

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 13.39
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Winchester, Simon
Published by Harper Perennial (2009)
ISBN 10: 0061767905 ISBN 13: 9780061767906
New Paperback Quantity Available: 8
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Harper Perennial, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # 0061767905

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 11.42
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Winchester, Simon/ Vannithone, Soun (ILT)
ISBN 10: 0061767905 ISBN 13: 9780061767906
New Softcover Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
VNHM SHOP
(Pompano Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Softcover. Book Condition: New. In 1793, a canal digger named William Smith made a startling discovery. He found that by tracing the placement of fossils, which he uncovered in his excavations, one could follow layers of rocks as they dipped and rose and fell—clear across England and, indeed, clear across the world—making it possible, for the first time ever, to draw a chart of the hidden underside of the earth. Smith spent twenty-two years piecing together the fragments of this unseen universe to create an epochal and remarkably beautiful hand-painted map. But instead of receiving accolades and honors, he ended up in debtors' prison, the victim of plagiarism, and virtually homeless for ten years more.The Map That Changed the World is a very human tale of endurance and achievement, of one man's dedication in the face of ruin. With a keen eye and thoughtful detail, Simon Winchester unfolds the poignant sacrifice behind this world-changing discovery. Bookseller Inventory # 5327342

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 13.48
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Author and Historian Simon Winchester
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States (2009)
ISBN 10: 0061767905 ISBN 13: 9780061767906
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1793, a canal digger named William Smith made a startling discovery. He found that by tracing the placement of fossils, which he uncovered in his excavations, one could follow layers of rocks as they dipped and rose and fell--clear across England and, indeed, clear across the world--making it possible, for the first time ever, to draw a chart of the hidden underside of the earth. Smith spent twenty-two years piecing together the fragments of this unseen universe to create an epochal and remarkably beautiful hand-painted map. But instead of receiving accolades and honors, he ended up in debtors prison, the victim of plagiarism, and virtually homeless for ten years more. The Map That Changed the World is a very human tale of endurance and achievement, of one man s dedication in the face of ruin. With a keen eye and thoughtful detail, Simon Winchester unfolds the poignant sacrifice behind this world-changing discovery. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780061767906

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 13.78
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book