On The Map

On The Map : Why the world looks the way it does

3.66 (3,249 ratings by Goodreads)
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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 pocket maps of dragons, Mars, murders and more, with plenty of illustrations and prints to signpost the route. His compelling narratives range from the quest to create the perfect globe to the challenges of mapping Africa and Antarctica, from spellbinding treasure maps to the naming of America, from Ordnance Survey to the mapping of Monopoly and Skyrim, and from rare map dealers to cartographic frauds. En route, there are 'pocket map' tales on dragons and undergrounds, a nineteenth century murder map, the research conducted on the different ways that men and women approach a map, and an explanation of the curious long-term cartographic role played by animals.

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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 464 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 40mm | 604g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 60 ills
  • 1846685095
  • 9781846685095
  • 13,628

Review Text

Praise for Just My Type

'Every so often someone writes a book about an obscure subject and uses it to illuminate the rest of the world... this is one of the best
William Leith Evening Standard
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Review quote

Praise for Just My Type

'Every so often someone writes a book about an obscure subject and uses it to illuminate the rest of the world... this is one of the best -- William Leith * Evening Standard * After being walked through these stories, it's difficult to even look at a cereal packet in the same way again * Observer * This is a smart, funny, accessible book that does for typography what Truss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves did for punctuation * New York Times * Advance Praise for On the Map: Just when you think there have been enough books written on maps, the best one comes along -- Patrick Neale, Booksellers' Choice * The Bookseller * Will no doubt dominate the Christmas market -- Emma Herdman, Booksellers' Choice * The Bookseller * Simon Garfield had great success with Just My Type, so looks certain to repeat this with On the Map. -- Sarah Clarke, Booksellers' Choice * The Bookseller * There couldn't be anyone better to write about our love of maps than Simon Garfield, who is a master at unearthing strange facts and mixing them with a lively personal narrative . . . fascinating -- Giles Foden * Conde Nast Traveller * 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 . . . On the Map will inspire you to take a trip to somewhere new, buy an antique globe to chart the rise and fall of empires, or just dig out a tatty orange Ordnance Survey Explorer map and let its filigree of contour lines evoke a long-forgotten walk in the rain . . . a great book. -- Mark Wilson * Independent on Sunday * A stunning celebration of the cartographic. As one of the UK's leading contemporary polymaths, Garfield's always a joy to read for his gossamer-light show of rigorous learning, his shed-dweller precision in research and his infectious glee in passing on the golden nugget of fact. -- Robert Bound * Monocle * Garfield's genial prose twinkles with the delight of discovery -- Tom Hawker * Wanderlust * A pub quizzer's dream . . . Rather than over-romanticise the experience of map-reading, 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. Perhaps if Apple had read the book a few months ago, today's iPhone users would have a much better idea of where they're going. -- David Clack * Daily Telegraph * He takes us on a fascinating voyage . . . and is a lively companion for the journey. -- Douglas Osler * Scotsman * He hops around the world, ancient and modern, with glee, dispensing information, both learned and chatty. On the Map is informative and entertaining, and good fun . . . fascinating. -- John S Doyle * Irish Times *
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About Simon Garfield

Simon Garfield is the author of more than a dozen acclaimed books of non-fiction, including the international bestseller, Just My Type - A Book About Fonts, and a trilogy of edited diaries from the Mass Observation Archive. He lives in London and St Ives, with old maps lining the walls.
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Rating details

3,249 ratings
3.66 out of 5 stars
5 18% (576)
4 41% (1,331)
3 32% (1,052)
2 8% (244)
1 1% (46)
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