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On the Map Why the World Looks the Way it Does

by Simon Garfield

Biography / Autobiography eBooks of the Month History The Real World

LoveReading View on On the Map Why the World Looks the Way it Does

Simon Garfield excels in getting a quart into a pint pot, cramming the history of maps into a very readable one volume history. From picturing the universe to the London Underground, from the map’s role in exploration and politics, in imperial expansion, mythology and disease he shows how we rely on maps to show us everything from our place in the universe to finding our way round the London Underground, to exposing disease, furthering imperial expansion or just to tell lies either through ignorance or political expedience.


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The Lovereading view...

Packed with interesting facts, written in an incredibly accessible style this book is simply amazing. From early attempts to map the world, where strangely East was at the top of some maps (hence the term Orient yourself), to a map of the world created by Facebook connections Simon Garfield shows how maps and map making have been central to  human knowledge and development.

Sue Baker

On the Map Why the World Looks the Way it Does Synopsis

From Mappa Mundi to Google Maps - the bestselling Just My Type author turns his gaze to maps. Maps fascinate us. They chart our understanding of the world and they log our progress, but above all they tell our stories. From the early sketches of philosophers and explorers through to Google Maps and beyond, Simon Garfield examines how maps both relate and realign our history. With a historical sweep ranging from Ptolemy to Twitter, Garfield explores the legendary, impassable (and non-existent) mountains of Kong, the role of cartography in combatting cholera, the 17th-century Dutch craze for Atlases, the Norse discovery of America, how a Venetian monk mapped the world from his cell and the Muppets' knack of instant map-travel. Along the way are pocket maps of dragons, Mars, murders and more. From the bestselling and widely-adored author of Just My Type, On The Map is a witty and irrepressible examination of where we've been, how we got there and where we're going. Delightful. If maps be the fuel of wanderlust, read on . (From the foreword by Dava Sobel, author of Longitude).

On the Map Why the World Looks the Way it Does Press Reviews

'Garfield has a genius for being sparked to life by esoteric enthusiasm and charming readers with his delight.'
(Iain Finlayson, Times)


'Simon Garfield's new book is a rollicking sweep through map history, packed with curiosities and written with verve... a great book.'
(Mark Wilson, Independent on Sunday)


'Garfield allows his varied, expertly researched stories to speak for themselves, and in so doing helps us see that there are fewer things in life more useful, rewarding and beautiful than a map that does what it's supposed to.
(David Clack, Daily Telegraph)


'Garfield's genial prose twinkles with the delight of discovery
(Tom Hawker, Wanderlust)

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781846685101
Publication date: 05/09/2013
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781846685101
Publication date: 5th September 2013
Author: Simon Garfield
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 468 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites, History, The Real World,
Categories: Travel writing, Historical geography,

About Simon Garfield

Simon Garfield was our Guest Editor in October 2012 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.   Simon Garfield is the author of fourteen acclaimed books of non-fiction including On the Map, Just My Type and The Wrestling. His edited diaries from the Mass Observation Archive, Our Hidden Lives, We Are At War and Private Battles, were bestsellers, and his study of AIDS in Britain, The End of Innocence, won the Somerset Maugham prize. He lives in London and St Ives, Cornwall.   Author photo © Sarah Lee

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