Donovan'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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Jan 09, 13

bookshelves: maps, nonfiction
Read on January 08, 2013

I'm an old map enthusiast and have been in love with maps and cartography since I was a small boy. By the time I left for college the ceiling and loft in my room were so covered with National Geographic maps that you couldn't see the walls and I would study them and dream of traveling the world. Each month when the National Geographic arrived the first thing I would do is take out the map and spend an hour or two reviewing it. Today antique map shops are at an even higher level than used bookstores for me (and that is saying a lot) and I seek them out when traveling. I never leave without dropping a few hundred on an old map. In this book I realized that I'm actually a small time enthusiast and serious map collectors spend thousands and thousands...wow...so much more out there and now I have a plan on what I want to start looking for.

I expected this to just be about old maps, but Simon covers the entire spectrum of how maps have shaped our world, from the first maps in antiquity to treasure maps to fantasy maps (think Peter Pan or The Hobbit) to mapping Mars to the GPS system in our phones. The book is packed with history, intrigue and unique tidbits about mapmakers, history and how maps have influenced thinking and our worldview.

I loved this book and would recommend it to everyone who enjoys non-fiction, history or maps. You won't be disappointed.

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