Brendan's Reviews > The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime
The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime
May 16, 2016
In December 1995, a non-descript small-town antiquarian named Gilbert Bland Jr was charged with an astonishing series of crimes: a spree of thefts from North America's most prestigious libraries and rare book collections that left them bereft of some of the world's most priceless antique maps - often for years without knowing their collections had been looted. When journalist Miles Harvey first heard about the case, he thought it would be fascinating trying to explore the mind of the map-thief; but the longer his investigation lasted, the more he realised Bland was a cypher, a blank, the human equivalent of terra incognito. Here was an empty human being who, over the course of his life, abandoned careers, identities, relationships, and children without regret and without a backward glance in his pursuit of a monomaniacal obsession with ancient maps. Along the way, Harvey also plunged into the arcane world of the antiquarian map trade: the brash millionaires and auction-house speculators; the shysters and shady dealers; the secretive traders and their closed circle of contacts and suppliers. A fascinating exploration of a little-known sub-culture where the stakes are often astonishingly high; and the chances that another Gilbert Bland is at work in the world disturbingly real.
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May 16, 2016 – Started Reading
May 16, 2016 – Shelved
May 17, 2016 – Finished Reading