On the Map: Book summary and reviews of On the Map by Simon Garfield

On the Map

A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks

By Simon Garfield

On the Map
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  • Published in USA  Dec 2012,
    464 pages.

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Book Summary

Simon Garfield's Just My Type illuminated the world of fonts and made everyone take a stand on Comic Sans and care about kerning. Now Garfield takes on a subject even dearer to our fanatical human hearts: maps.

Imagine a world without maps. How would we travel? Could we own land? What would men and women argue about in cars? Scientists have even suggested that mapping—not language—is what elevated our prehistoric ancestors from ape-dom. Follow the history of maps from the early explorers' maps and the awe-inspiring medieval Mappa Mundi to Google Maps and the satellite renderings on our smartphones, Garfield explores the unique way that maps relate and realign our history—and reflect the best and worst of what makes us human.

Featuring a foreword by Dava Sobel and packed with fascinating tales of cartographic intrigue, outsize personalities, and amusing "pocket maps" on an array of subjects from how to fold a map to the strangest maps on the Internet, On the Map is a rich historical tapestry infused with Garfield's signature narrative flair. Map-obsessives and everyone who loved Just My Type will be lining up to join Garfield on his audacious journey through time and around the globe.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[H]is droll humor and infectious curiosity will keep readers engrossed as he uncovers surprising ways in which maps chart our imaginations as much as they do the ground underfoot." - Publishers Weekly

"A fine, fun presentation of the brand of cartography that continues to whet our imaginations." - Kirkus Reviews

"Completely enthralling." - Daily Mail (UK)

"Garfield has a genius for being sparked to life by esoteric enthusiasm and charming readers with his delight." - Times (UK)

'Simon Garfield's new book is a rollicking sweep through map history, packed with curiosities and written with verve ... On the Map will inspire you to take a trip to somewhere new, buy an antique globe to chart the rise and fall of empires, or just dig out a tatty orange Ordnance Survey Explorer map and let its filigree of contour lines evoke a long-forgotten walk in the rain ... a great book.' - Independent on Sunday (UK)

"A pub quizzer's dream ... Rather than over-romanticise the experience of map-reading, Garfield allows his varied, expertly researched stories to speak for themselves, and in so doing helps us see that there are fewer things in life more useful, rewarding and beautiful than a map that does what it's supposed to. Perhaps if Apple had read the book a few months ago, today's iPhone users would have a much better idea of where they're going." - Daily Telegraph (UK)

The information about On the Map shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Simon Garfield Author Biography

Simon Garfield was born in London in 1960. He won the Guardian/National Union of Students "Student Journalist of the Year" award In 1981, and the same year became a sub-editor at the Radio Times (a UK guide to what's on TV and radio).

He wrote scripts for BBC radio documentaries in the early 1980s, and wrote for Time Out magazine (where he was acting editor from 1988-1989).

He has written for newspapers such as The Independent on Sunday and The Observer. He was named Mind Journalist of the Year in 2005. The award celebrates exceptional writing on mental health issues in the local, national, trade and consumer press.

He is the author of a dozen books of nonfiction including Just My Type, published in 2010 in the UK and 2011 in the USA.

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