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Korea: A Cartographic History Hardcover – May 30, 2012

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Korea: A Cartographic History + Culture and the State in Late Choson Korea (Harvard East Asian Monographs)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1st ed edition (May 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226753646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226753645
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,882,295 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Short gives a good review of Korean history as well as the history of European expansion. . . . Recommended.”
(E. Edson, Piedmont Virginia Community College Choice)

“A comprehensive and highly interesting examination of Korea through maps. . . . Korea is a pleasure to read, a fully satisfying and rich foray into a fascinating country as seen, by itself and by others, through maps. The archival work, methodological elegance, and convincing argumentation and writing create a scintillating exploration of and guidebook to all things cartographically related to a place that has sometimes been relegated to ‘wedge’ position between great powers (China and Japan, or communism and capitalism, as the case may be). Seventy-one full-colour plates are interspersed throughout the text, and it feels as though every other page has a treasure waiting behind it. This book is a beautiful production by the University of Chicago Press. . . . A superb introduction to a fine author from whom we can only hope much more of the same is to come.”

(Gwilym Eades, Royal Holloway, University of London Cartographica)

“[A] very accessible and well-written general history of Korea and its role in the history of cartography. . . . [W]ritten very much for a general audience, . . . [Korea] isbeautifully illustrated with many pictures of old Korean maps, European maps of Korea and recent examples of maps of Korea.”—Korea Times


(Korea Times)

“A colorful and nicely printed general history of the representation of the Korean peninsula in maps.”
(Michael E. Robinson, Indiana University, Bloomington Journal of Asian Studies)

“There are more than a few Korean books of the country’s cartographic history, but Korea: A Cartographic History separates itself from others in that it reviews how Korea was incorporated in Western maps, as well as how Korea, East Asia, and the West were represented in and through Korean maps. John Rennie Short, a prolific writer in the areas of geography and urban studies, has also published several books on the history of cartography, the politics of mapmaking, and European maps. He is one of the very few who are qualified to compare European maps to Korean ones in terms of their worldview, geographic knowledge of other territories as well as their own, and uses and purposes of mapmaking. Undoubtedly, this book fills the gap in the current literature on the development of the history of cartography. It also makes a significant contribution to the historical studies of Joseon and colonial Korea, as Korean cartographic representations of and encounters with outside influences would add a new dimension to the existing understanding of the Korean people’s relations with others.”
(Yeong-Hyun Kim, Ohio University)

“John Rennie Short has written a superb review of the cartographic history of Korea. The text is clear and the illustrations fascinating. The story of the interweaving of Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and European science is engaging and opens to the nonspecialist a vista of the fascinating interplay of politics, trade, science, and landscape. The masterful overview is punctuated by very detailed analysis of several key maps. The concluding chapter on cartographic controversies brings the story into the postmodernist debates on place making and critical geopolitics. The book is a must-have for all lovers of maps and students of China, Korea, and Japan.”
(David A. Lanegran, Macalester College)

“Both a history of cartography and a cartographic history, John Rennie Short’s highly readable and beautifully illustrated book recounts the absorbing story of Korea’s integration into global space with accuracy and aplomb.”
(Laura Hostetler, University of Illinois at Chicago)

About the Author

John Rennie Short is professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

More About the Author

I was born in central Scotland, just outside Stirling and spent all my pre-college years in the small village of Tullibody. My grandmother was a big influence on me and she stressed the importance of learning and social justice. Throughout my writing life I have tried to make the complex simple and the convoluted clear. I think I write for her.
I love the inspirational process of writing, coming up with the initial ideas, sketching out chapter titles and outlining the basic narrative flow. Turning ideas into sentences and a manuscript into a book is more perspirational for me. As I am working on one book I always have three more in the back of my mind.

You can find more information about me on my webpage

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew V. Smith on April 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Short has written a very accessible book that is better than a popular work, but not overwhelmingly scholarly. He managed to hit a sweet spot that I really enjoy.
As a long-time Korea resident and a life-long map lover, this book really "did it" for me. It is a sweeping and informative history, chocked full of beautiful color images of historic maps. There is a bit of social commentary; enough to make the reader aware that something is at play socially in relation to maps, but Short works it in so subtly and gently that he is never preachy.
His last chapter about the "cartroversies" is most excellent, especially the section about Dokdo. It's so hard to get commentary about Dokdo that is not hyperbolic; Short manages to give the facts in a very rational narrative that will strike some Koreans as not being sufficiently pro-Korean, and strike some Japanese as too pro-Korean. Brushing all nationalist rhetoric aside, he's right on.
As an aside, the book is physically superior to many books. Sturdy sewn binding in hard cover and nice thick paper. I'm sorry I had my university library buy it rather than getting it with my own money because it is such a beautiful book I want to keep it.

If you know someone who loves Korea, or who someone loves maps, or someone who loves both Korea and maps as I do, this book would make a terrific gift.
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