Mike Silverman's Reviews > On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks

On the Map by Simon Garfield
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's review
Dec 03, 2012

really liked it
Read from November 10 to December 03, 2012

"On the Map" is a wonderful, rambling tour through the world of maps, focusing on major events in mapmaking history as well as the various social and cultural functions maps have played over time. Like any good journey, the book is filled with lots of side-trips covering topics such as the development of travel guidebooks, the role of the modern GPS, and maps of hidden treasures. Each major chapter is followed by a "mini-chapter" covering bits of map-making trivia. The book is also well-illustrated - if the author talks about a map, there's probably an image of it nearby - this isn't a picture-book, but there are enough images that you don't run screaming with frustration to Google every other page to actually see the map under discussion. The writing style is breezy and well-informed, with bits of humor scattered throughout. For anyone already interested in maps, this is a must-read (although an expert or specialist will find much of the material stuff they already know). For the curious reader who is not already a map-head - they too will enjoy the book due to the accessible style of the writing. Highly recommended.
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