On the Map
A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks
By Simon Garfield
Gotham Books, Hardcover, 9781592407798, 464pp.
Publication Date: December 27, 2012
List Price: $27.50*
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Simon Garfield's "Just My Type "illuminated the world of fonts and made everyone take a stand on Comic Sans and care about kerning. Now Garfield takes on a subject even dearer to our fanatical human hearts: maps.
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 ape-dom. Follow the history of maps from the early explorers maps and the awe-inspiring medieval Mappa Mundi to Google Maps and the satellite renderings on our smartphones, Garfield explores the unique way that maps relate and realign our history and reflect the best and worst of what makes us human.
Featuring a foreword by Dava Sobel and packed with fascinating tales of cartographic intrigue, outsize personalities, and amusing pocket maps on an array of subjects from how to fold a map to the strangest maps on the Internet, "On the Map "is a rich historical tapestry infused with Garfield's signature narrative flair. Map-obsessives and everyone who loved "Just My Type "will be lining up to join Garfield on his audacious journey through time and around the globe.
"Mr. Garfield uses cartography as a springboard to similar explorations of how we have viewed not only the world around us, but ourselves." —New York Journal of Books
"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." —Publishers Weekly
"A fine, fun presentation of the brand of cartography that continues to whet our imaginations." —Kirkus Reviews
“Mr. Garfield's book serves an immense need, connecting the latest geocacher with both the ancient art and modern science of the cartographer. Each may benefit from learning how the other approaches maps. Mr. Garfield uniquely provides that bridge.”
–Pittsburgh Post Gazette
“Deep research and descriptive intensity. [Garfield] regales us with tales of such wonders as Britain's medieval Mappa Mundi… On the Map offers a world of revelation.” –USA Today
“There is a great deal that is good and charming and fun about this book.” – Washington Post
“Delightfully meandering.” – NPR.org
“Garfield has a knack for creating high-spirited, erudite and user-friendly books on subjects that may seem crashingly dull to all but a few fanatics. . . . Garfield is a terrific guide. . . . “On the Map” is a treasure: exhilarating, witty, compulsively readable and just plain fun.” –The Seattle Times
“Engaging …full of little conversation pieces” –Janet Maslin, New York Times
“Garfield is a wonderful writer who deploys suspense to excellent effect, making each chapter read like a delightful short story or mini-mystery; what might appear a dusty subject sparkles under his clear-eyed and witty writing.” – Smithsonian Magazine
“engrossing, endlessly fascinating… enlightening and impossible to put down… The length and breadth of his scholarship are staggering, while the witty tone makes for the most convivial of literary guides...an irresistible invitation to see the world, and delivering on his promise of “the map as story, the map as life.” –Booklist Starred Review
“Vastly entertaining.” --Bookpage