100 Maps: The Science, Art and Politics of Cartography Throughout History

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9781402728853: 100 Maps: The Science, Art and Politics of Cartography Throughout History
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From Ptolemy's projection of the world--still the basic map after 13 centuries--to Tolkien's cartography of Middle Earth (the most printed guide to a non-existent place ever), each of these maps has its own fascinating story to tell.

Escape maps, military maps, cartographic breakthroughs, and follies and forgeries: these 100 maps, organized chronologically, are the most important, dramatic, and breathtakingly beautiful ever created. They show not only the art and science of the form, but also its power. Some had devastating consequences, such the 1885 map of Africa that carved up the continent to Europeans desires. But others are simply exquisite to look at or mysterious, like the Aborginal "Dreamtime" painting and the Siberian rock maps. And some maps capture places that exist only in the imagination. Finding out about each one is an adventure all its own, whether it be with Lewis and Clark across America or the British as they uncovered India.

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Cartographers have been actively representing the world as they know or imagine it since an ancient Sumerian estate owner drew the boundaries of his property. The recent controversy over the accuracy or political correctness of the Mercator map of the world demonstrates that cartography has hardly been a benign skill and occupies a domain somewhere between art, science and propaganda. The editor of this stunningly illustrated volume captures the challenges, successes and failures of making maps throughout history. The 100 maps are divided into six sections that chart momentous events in cartography, such as Ptolemy's revolutionary mapping of heaven and earth, the Peutinger Table (a first-century B.C. traveler's map of Rome and its roads) and Harry Beck's 1933 pathbreaking and brilliantly drawn map of the London Underground (New York City's subway map is based on it). Author and encyclopedist Clark includes maps that express the political imagination—e.g., propaganda maps of a new Germany under the Nazis—and the literary imagination—e.g., Tolkien's map of Middle-Earth. These maps are fascinating and often exquisite, and help us to see how maps fire and form our imagination of our physical world. (Feb. 20)
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