Map : Exploring the World
by Phaidon Press and John Hessler

Overview -

300 stunning maps from all periods and from all around the world, exploring and revealing what maps tell us about history and ourselves.

Map: Exploring the World brings together more than 300 fascinating maps from the birth of cartography to cutting-edge digital maps of the twenty-fist century.  Read more...

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More About Map by Phaidon Press; John Hessler

300 stunning maps from all periods and from all around the world, exploring and revealing what maps tell us about history and ourselves.

Map: Exploring the World brings together more than 300 fascinating maps from the birth of cartography to cutting-edge digital maps of the twenty-fist century. The book's unique arrangement, with the maps organized in complimentary or contrasting pairs, reveals how the history of our attempts to make flat representations of the world has been full of beauty, ingenuity and innovation.

Selected by an international panel of curators, academics and collectors, the maps reflect the many reasons people make maps, such as to find their way, to assert ownership, to record human activity, to establish control, to encourage settlement, to plan military campaigns or to show political power. The selection includes the greatest names in cartography, such as James Cook, Gerard Mercator, Matthew Fontaine Maury and Phyllis Pearsall, as well as maps from indigenous cultures around the world, rarely seen maps from lesser'known cartographers, and maps of outstanding beauty and surprising individuality from the current generation of map makers.

This item is Non-Returnable.

  • ISBN-13: 9780714869445
  • ISBN-10: 0714869449
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press
  • Publish Date: September 2015
  • Page Count: 352
  • Dimensions: 11.5 x 10 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Technology & Engineering > History
Books > Technology & Engineering > Cartography

BookPage Reviews

Stunning maps tell humanity's story

Who among us hasn’t used Google Maps to get a detailed aerial survey of our neighborhood, right down to the tricycle in the driveway? We no longer need anything as old-fashioned as a map to navigate our world. Or do we? We may think we’re getting the whole story with our digital access to up-to-the-minute street scenes, but no satellite image delivers the artistic elegance and historical context of the maps reproduced in these four gorgeous collections. 

If you think of maps as antiquated and utilitarian, maybe even boring, prepare to reconsider. Map: Exploring the World, an attention-grabbing collection of more than 300 maps, brings the art of cartography to life with meticulously reproduced, full-color maps ranging from a Catalan atlas manuscript on parchment to modern digital data maps that trace airline flight paths with light trails. The editors play with the expectation that maps are historical documents, and thus should be presented from earliest to latest. Instead, they follow a gold-highlighted 1547 map of Java la Grande from the Vallard Atlas with a 1997 painting of the sacred Baltaltjara site by Australian aboriginal artist Estelle Hogan. Turn the page and you’re in the Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie-the-Pooh, courtesy of Ernest H. Shepard’s 1926 drawing. A new scene unfolds on each page, accompanied by just enough text to give context, while encouraging readers to make their own connections between art and history.

Jeremy Black, University of Exeter history professor and author of more than 80 books, sheds a different kind of light on humankind’s history as it is reflected in our mapmaking ventures. In Metropolis: Mapping the City, Black focuses on a single subject of cartography: the cityscape. Noting that as civilization developed, so did the human desire to control and organize the rapid pace of change, Black suggests that maps are perhaps the perfect tool for urban planning, allowing people to measure, navigate, plan and protect their newly organized cities. A mapmaker’s vision could affect an entire culture, as evidenced by examples like side-by-side planning maps of New York City in 1815 and 1867. The former shows a relatively featureless grid of streets, while the latter allows the lush, green space of Central Park to dominate, a factor that shapes the settlement of the city to this day. Black’s maps range from bird’s-eye views and panoramas to skyline profiles and schematics, giving readers multiple visual perspectives along with his ample and authoritative text describing each map in its historical context.

Focusing the historical lens even more closely than Black are Richard H. Brown and Paul E. Cohen in Revolution: Mapping the Road to American Independence, 1755-1783. This unique collection illuminates the battles—physical and political—that defined America’s fight for independence. Brown and Cohen carefully curated this collection, scouring sources from the King George III collection at the British Library to the archives of Revolutionary War map printer William Faden and previously undiscovered family collections. Many of the maps are published here for the first time, with full-page reproductions and enlarged insets providing astonishingly detailed accounts of each battle. The 1777 “Plan of New York Island,” for instance, allows readers to see the “carefully placed British forces, twenty-one-thousand strong,” as they “attacked the poorly organized and ill-equipped rebels.” The authors’ lively commentary runs throughout the book, but as they take pains to note, the maps are the focus. Where other history books might use maps to support the narrative, Revolution uses narrative to support the maps themselves.

A "Map of Video Websites" from Vargic's Miscellany of Curious Maps, courtesy of Martin Vargic.

The maps are the narrative in the wildly original Vargic’s Miscellany of Curious Maps: Mapping the Modern World, in which 17-year-old Slovakian artist Martin Vargic reimagines our planet not just geographically, but culturally, too. Famous for his viral “Map of the Internet,” which remapped the world in terms of website popularity (countries like Facebook and Google dominate North America, for example), Vargic takes his near-obsessive attention to detail to new heights with atlas-style maps that contain vast alternative vocabularies for describing the globe, with thousands of words in each entry. Vargic’s meticulousness was not always obvious when huge pieces like his “Map of Stereotypes” made their way around the Internet. Here, though, full-page, two-page and even foldout maps, along with insets, allow us to see every word he has imposed upon our previously well-ordered vision of the globe. Do you recognize the island relabeled with words like Cigars, Vintage Cars and Uncle Fidel? Would you sail on the Jack Sparrow sea? There’s a sly sense of humor to everything Vargic does, which lets us laugh at ourselves a bit while we contemplate the larger truths he’s telling.


This article was originally published in the December 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

BAM Customer Reviews