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Cities of the World: A History in Maps Hardcover – October 10, 2005


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Cities of the World: A History in Maps + London: A Life in Maps
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (October 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520247256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520247253
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 9.6 x 12.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,277,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In this collection of historical maps of about 60 cities, Whitfield, an eminent historian of cartography, yields much insight about how cities have perceived themselves. The maps themselves, which date from the Renaissance to the Victorian era, generally come in two forms: the perspective, or bird's-eye view, and the scaled map, an attempt at exact measurement of a city's streets and landmarks. One of Whitfield's themes is the idealization of a city that maps of these types induced. When given a pictorial representation of a city, viewers could imagine how to improve it aesthetically. This was the express purpose of maps of planned cities such as Washington, D.C. Capturing the civic spirit is another purpose explored by Whitfield; in his compact city histories, he dwells on a place's origin as a fortress (such as Luxembourg and Quebec) or as a commercial center (Amsterdam and New York). Selecting cities from around the world, Whitfield promotes certain browsing of nearly 150 colorful and beautifully reproduced historical charts. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Peter Whitfield is an independent scholar and a leading expert in map history and exploration. He is a former director of Stanford's International Map Centre in London. His previous books include The Image of the World (1994), The Mapping of the Heavens (1995), The Charting of the Oceans (1996), New Found Lands (1998), Landmarks in Western Science (1999), Astrology: A History (2001), and Sir Francis Drake (2004).

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on March 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The author has collected some 150 maps from the history of about sixty cities from around the world. I expected these maps to be beautiful works of art, but I didn't expect that the differences in the maps would show much more than that. The nature of the maps seem to show a lot about how the map maker viewed the city. The maps date from several hundred years ago when map makers were not all using Mercator projection in a more or less standard fashion.

Here are maps of many styles. Some show the roads of a city, some show the fortifications, some are more concerned with making a pictorial representation of the city. ==As the subtitle of the book says, here in only a few pages the history of the city can be seen. The cities grow, and the view of the city changes with the will and skill of the map maker.

This book gives me a completely different view of maps and what they can show. Highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is suitable for a coffee table, but also could be considered a college planning course text book. As a geographer, I found this book intriging and filled with information about the development of cities, as well as many maps, both modern and historic.
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5 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Joel Katz on June 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The worst anthology of maps I have ever encountered, lacking depth or a point of view, and with no historical or cartographic intelligence. How can you reveal anything about a place ot a culture with two maps? How can you pretend to say anything about Rome or its cartographic history without Nolli's 1748 masterpiece? A ridiculous effort.
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