On the Map

  • by Simon Garfield
  • Narrated by Simon Shepherd
  • 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Maps fascinate us. They chart our understanding of the world and they log our progress, but above all they tell our stories. From the early sketches of philosophers and explorers through to Google Maps and beyond, Simon Garfield examines how maps both relate and realign our history.
His compelling narratives range from the quest to create the perfect globe to the challenges of mapping Africa and Antarctica, from spellbinding treasure maps to the naming of America, from Ordnance Survey to the mapping of Monopoly and Skyrim and from rare map dealers to cartographic frauds. En route, there are "pocket map" tales on dragons and undergrounds, a 19th-century murder map, the research conducted on the different ways that men and women approach a map, and an explanation of the curious long-term cartographic role played by animals. On the Map is a witty, irrepressible examination of where we've been, how we got there, and where we're going.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A good history of cartography; poor ending.

An interesting topic, no doubt, and for the first two-thirds of the book, an informative historical guide to the evolution of cartography. The why?, when?, who? and how? of map making is traced from the time of the Roman Empire through to the modern day with all the important pit stops along the way; The Mapa Mundi (which gets too much attention), Ptolemy, the growth of navigation charts in the late 15th and 16th centuries and the later maps of Mercator that informed how world maps look today.
The story highlights many of the absurdities that cartographical development promoted, with the author describing assiduously the defects and the reasons for their inclusion/perpetuation.
The end third or so of the book is a more casual introduction to modern map trade, concentrating on particular dealers and their individual approaches. To be honest, it is not particularly interesting and could have been far more succinct.

The narrator has a clipped, standard English accent and completes his task competently. Easy enough to listen to.

Not a bad listen, probably one of the better recent books on the subject of maps for the general reader.
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- Balor of the Evil Eye

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-02-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios