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Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities
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Strange Maps: An Atlas of Cartographic Curiosities

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  225 ratings  ·  26 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 Studio
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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
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
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
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.
Artur Coelho
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
Doug Cornelius
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
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
Dave Sippel
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.
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
Is 'ns iets anders.
Eduardo Santiago
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.
Haley Grizzell
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
Brenda B
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.
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.
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!
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
Shaun Brady
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.
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.
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.
Nov 09, 2009 Meadow marked it as to-read
Saw an interview with the author on the Freakonomics blog and it sounds nerdily interesting.
Weird, interesting, and a quick read. An entertaining book for geography nerds.
Not nearly as good as Frank Jacobs's pieces at NYTimes.
Great fun for a cartophile!
Bill Shannon
Must like maps.
Nate marked it as to-read
Jan 27, 2015
Anna Rosa
Anna Rosa marked it as to-read
Jan 27, 2015
Celeste Finn
Celeste Finn marked it as to-read
Jan 23, 2015
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