A History of the World in 12 Maps Summary and Reviews

A History of the World in 12 Maps

by Jerry Brotton

A History of the World in 12 Maps

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Book Summary

In this masterful study, historian and cartography expert Jerry Brotton explores a dozen of history's most influential maps, from stone tablet to vibrant computer screen. Starting with Ptolemy, "father of modern geography," and ending with satellite cartography, A History of the World in 12 Maps brings maps from classical Greece, Renaissance Europe, and the Islamic and Buddhist worlds to life and reveals their influence on how we - literally - look at our present world.

As Brotton shows, the long road to our present geographical reality was rife with controversy, manipulation, and special interests trumping science. Through the centuries maps have been wielded to promote any number of imperial, religious, and economic agendas, and have represented the idiosyncratic and uneasy fusion of science and subjectivity. Brotton also conjures the worlds that produced these notable works of cartography and tells the stories of those who created, used, and misused them for their own ends.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse Review
"I have finished about 75 pages of this page and it's painful. Every sentence is a dry fact and as much as I love facts, it's just a total plod."

Other Reviews
"Starred Review. In an era when Google Maps is regarded as a standard convenience, this history of 12 epoch-defining maps - including Google's - is a revelation." - Publishers Weekly

"A dense and scholarly but rewarding journey for the intellectually intrepid." - Kirkus

"This is a stimulating and thought-provoking study of how the mixing of science, politics, and even religion influenced and continues to influence cartography." - Booklist

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Jerry Brotton is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary University of London and a leading expert in the history of maps and Renaissance cartography. His most recent book, The Sale of the Late King's Goods: Charles I and His Art Collection (2006), was short-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize as well as the Hessell-Tiltman History Prize. He lives in London.

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