Map Addict: A Tale of Obsession, Fudge and the Ordnance Survey (Paperback)
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Description'My name is Mike and I am a map addict. There, it's said...' Mike Parker, presenter of Radio 4's On the Map, celebrates the richness of all things maps in this fantastic, critically-acclaimed read. Have you ever got through an entire day without referring to some kind of navigational aide, be it checking the A-Z, touring the globe on Google Earth, planning a walk or navigating a shopping centre? Maps are everywhere and they are, according to self proclaimed map-addict Mike Parker, the unsung heroes of life. Here he sings their song, celebrating everything cartographic. With a mix of wry observation and hard fact, the offbeat and the completely pedantic, Parker wages a one-man war against the moronic blandishments of the Sat Nav age. He combines cartographic history and trivia with memoir and oblique observation to create a highly readable expose of the world of maps. Only here can you find out which area has officially been named by the OS as the most boring square kilometre in the land and whether Milton Keynes was really built to pagan alignment. Confessing that his own impressive map collection was founded on a virulent teenage shoplifting habit Parker ponders how a good leftie can be so gung-ho about British cartographic imperialism and establishes himself as defender and saviour of British cartography in the internet age.
- Published: 01 June 2010
- Format: Paperback 336 pages
- ISBN 13: 9780007351572 ISBN 10: 0007351577
- Sales rank: 25,891
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Reviews for Map Addict
- Top review
An enjoyable journey
I was lent this book by colleague, and although I forget the discussion that prompted it, she could obviously tell that I had some aspect of map addict about me. While I don't collect maps, I did have a thing for buying random, cheap, guide-books from those book liquidation shops, and I can't pass a map without looking at it to see where everything is in relation to eachother. I too love that map on the back of airplane seats. This was a book for me.
It's a very witty book (Parker has dabbled in stand-up comedy), and rather self-depreciating. It's quite British, with a heavy focus on the Ordinance Survey maps and their history, which was never-the-less interesting to a non-Brit such as myself (although I did live in London for a couple of years so am perhaps somewhat familiar with British geography). Though he looks at European mapping and geography too.
He looks at the history of the Greenwich meridian, and the way in which map technology has almost always come from a military genesis. There's a chapters on the evolution of street names and their common erotic origins, the famous London tube map and the A-Z. He ends by looking at the pros and cons of digital map technology.
The book is highly autobiographical, as Parker traces his childhood (a slight quibble is the way in which he feels the need to keep reminding us that he was a naughty boy and used to steal maps) and life experiences with various maps and journeys, which keeps it all from being dry and academic, while at the same time feeling like he's taking us for a meander rather than a striclty plotted course.
That I finished this book much quicker than most is either testiment to the enjoyable nature of the book, or my own if somewhat contained) map addiction. I did come away wanting to get hold of several atlases which he waxes lyrical about.
If you like looking at maps (a few more illustrations woud not have gone astray), I highly reccomend this enjoyable read. by Andrew Finden