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Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  301 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
An intriguing collection of more than one hundred out-of-the-ordinary maps, blending art, history, and pop culture for a unique atlas of humanity

Spanning many centuries, all continents, and the realms of outer space and the imagination, this collection of 138 unique graphics combines beautiful full-color illustrations with quirky statistics and smart social commentary. Th
Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 29th 2009 by Avery
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May 03, 2011 Sesana rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I love the look of maps, especially antique ones. They're so intricate and beautiful and exact. So naturally, this particular book really caught my interest. But what, exactly, is a strange map? Lots of things, really. Strange Maps started as a blog of the same name (still going, as it turns out) where Jacobs essentially posted any map that drew his attention and was out of the ordinary. This book is more than 100 of those maps, reproduced in full color and with a thorough explanation by Jacobs. ...more
Aug 21, 2011 Miriam rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Yet another blog-to-book product. Like most of these, it was probably better as a blog (although I have not checked out the blog, I admit); the interest of the items wears thin after a few in a row.

Surprisingly, I found the text more interesting than than the maps themselves, most of which were neither that "strange" (strange may here be used in the new, meaningless click-baity way that words such as "amaze," "shock" etc seem to be on the internet) or that visually interesting.

Mm, okay, you coul
Stewart Tame
Oct 24, 2015 Stewart Tame rated it liked it
I don't know. I like the idea of this book, and I like some of the maps contained therein. I just found it to be less interesting than I'd hoped. I guess I'm just not as into maps as I thought. This is an eclectic mix of real world cartographical curiosities, as well as fictional worlds, art projects, graphs, and just plain uncategorizable ... stuff, I guess. It's an interesting book to dip into, but rather dry reading. Worth checking out if it sounds like your sort of thing, but don't be surpri ...more
Jan 17, 2010 Kyle rated it it was amazing
Growing up I was the nerdy kid who loved looking at maps and globes during social studies. I still remember when I got an encyclopedia on CD-ROM. I spent hours watching animated maps of Alexander, the Romans, and the Mongols march across a map increasing the size of their empire and seeing the inevitable downfall.

I also love weird stuff. Twin Peaks. The X-Files. The weirder the better. So when I heard about this book of Strange Maps I was sold. And it didn't disappoint.

The classics are all here
Jul 02, 2010 Janice rated it it was amazing
Fascinating book about maps, who knew an entire book could be written on ancient maps. For instance, did you know that California was orginally drawn as an island (pg 7). It all started with a 1510 novel by Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo, want to know more? Check out this book, very intriging information goes on.
Kris McCracken
Jun 19, 2016 Kris McCracken rated it liked it
I like maps. All sorts of maps. This is a collection of odd and different maps.
Doug Cornelius
Jan 11, 2010 Doug Cornelius rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Being in the real estate industry, I am a big fan of maps. I like how they help visual the world around us. There is the physical sense of the objects around us and how to get from one point to another.

But maps can also help us visual information in many different ways. That is what interested me in Strange Maps by Frank Jacobs. I first heard about the book from an interview on the Freakonomics blog: Maps: Fighting Disease and Skewing Borders.

I encountered the book and the Strange Maps blog at
Artur Coelho
Apr 02, 2011 Artur Coelho rated it liked it
Por si só, os mapas já despertam a curiosidade. As cores, os nomes exóticos e as fractais linhas traçadas já nos levam a imaginar os locais reais. Quando entramos no campo dos mapas antigos, as possibilidades imaginárias explodem. Cartografando uma terra em grande parte desconhecida, os autores de antigos mapas imaginaram terras inexistentes, criaturas exóticas, seres fantásticos, e quando a imaginação já não dava para mais... hic sunt dracones. Quando entramos no campo dos mapas como arte, prop ...more
Mar 23, 2010 Harris rated it liked it
This is a difficult work to review. Since childhood, I've loved maps, spending much time sketching out strange worlds on scratch paper, convoluted edges and squiggles marking out oceans and mountains. Maps bespeak travel, history, exploration, providing a pictorial interpretation of the world's many stories. Strange Maps provides all that and more, from real world political oddities (such as the short lived first Esperanto state on the Belgian-German border) to evocative maps of imaginary lands, ...more
Oct 22, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing
There are a lot of books like this doing the rounds at the moment, and some of them seem a bit undercooked. The thing is, just putting a picture of a medieval map complete with accompanying text describing its history with some sort of aside like 'California's a weird shape in this one' gets hugely derivative pretty much right off the bat.

So. One of the main reasons this book works so well is because the commentary is engaging, it has a selection of maps that are (some of which at least) genuine
Haley Grizzell
Jul 16, 2012 Haley Grizzell rated it it was ok
Strange Maps's consistent unearthing of the most obscure, eyebrow-raising and whimsical diagrams has left no doubt how intimately maps reflect the way we look at our world. However, reading about maps for hours on end takes a toll on your interest. Map descriptions begin to drone on and on. Though I do appreciate such oddities as culinary maps, and country-shaped clouds, Ludacris's map did not impress me at all. In fact, some would take it as offensive. Sorry, but Strange Maps is not one of my f ...more
Eduardo Santiago
Nov 30, 2009 Eduardo Santiago rated it really liked it
Exquisite. All the character and curiosity of the blog, but with rich and beautiful maps in print. A feast.

Some netcentrisms made it past editing: "Moving your mouse cursor over any département" (p.181) didn't work so well for me. And for some of the more creative maps, it would have been helpful to have a sidebar providing context against a standard map. But no matter: this is a delightful book and a valuable addition to any cartophile's library.
Dec 09, 2009 Greg rated it liked it
This coffee table book shows cartographic oddities, one to a set of facing pages. It has the famous Minard map that Edward Tufte has brought to prominence, and many other maps. I was disappointed that most of the maps in the book show fictional or fanastic information, not real information presented in novel ways, though there are a handful of those. For example, there's a strawberry-jam smudge that is supposed to look like a map of north and south america. And a cloud that looks like Great Brit ...more
Dave Sippel
Jan 07, 2014 Dave Sippel rated it really liked it
I've always loved maps. I had a globe as a kid and it fascinated me. So many countries all over the world and they were all so different. Political maps and topography maps were equally interesting, showing the actions of both humanity and nature, sometimes one effecting the other.

"Strange Maps" takes this even further, with alternate history maps, propaganda, political satire and maps of make believe places. This book shows so many ways of looking at the world.
Brenda B
Dec 23, 2012 Brenda B rated it really liked it
Its description says it all: "An intriguing collection of more than one hundred out-of-the-ordinary maps, blending art, history, and pop culture for a unique atlas of humanity." I have always been fascinated by maps, but here is where the intersection of culture and maps comes together in beautiful, thoughtful art.
Apr 07, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it
Wish I could do three and a half stars. My complaint would be that some maps were fascinating and some I didn't do more than read the title. But I also appreciate that everyone would have different interests in these fascinating strange maps!
Thomas Gizbert
Apr 14, 2016 Thomas Gizbert rated it liked it
This book would have been better if the maps weren't displayed so small! Some, like a cartoon of an ice-cream baby threatening Manhattan get a whole page, while others - more demanding of close analysis - get a tiny insert.

Probably not the book about maps I'd recommend.
Dimitris Hall
I haven't read it all but it's the kind of book you just own and skim from time to time. It's a collection of Strange Maps from the blog of the same name. Makes for really cool toilet-going material! Did I mention I love Strange Maps? :ζ
May 07, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it
I love cartography, so this book was right up my alley. My only complaint is that, even though it was a large book, it was difficult sometimes to read the fine print and see details of the different map. To the point where I googled a couple to look for a larger print.
Dec 25, 2015 Cat. rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cat. by: Amazon
Shelves: history, travel
I got this for Christmas and finished it last night in bed. Fun maps from various perspectives. It's a little dated, but still a fun read.
Jan 07, 2011 Jeff rated it liked it
Cool maps from 1984 and how WWI and WWII could have looked after the war if things went the wrong way. Lots of cool historical maps that were or never would be.
Apr 24, 2013 Gavin rated it really liked it
Shaun Brady
Mar 09, 2013 Shaun Brady rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Strange indeed. You would think that a book about maps would have big brilliant maps, nope this book is word heavy with many of the maps compressed into the corners. Such a good idea wasted.
Sep 29, 2012 Ben rated it it was amazing
Great fun for a cartophile!
Jun 18, 2014 Rudy rated it liked it
Is 'ns iets anders.
Nov 09, 2009 Meadow marked it as to-read
Saw an interview with the author on the Freakonomics blog and it sounds nerdily interesting.
May 12, 2012 zltg rated it liked it
Shelves: misc, science
Not nearly as good as Frank Jacobs's pieces at NYTimes.
Nov 03, 2009 IPC marked it as book-pic
Great collection of interesting maps. Anyone who likes looking at old and new maps will like this book.
Bruce rated it liked it
Aug 29, 2016
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