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Comment: Pages are smooth and clear, with no folds or creases. Faint smudging on book edges. Free of any markings or labels. Minor to moderate wear to dust jacket includes wrinkle to edges. *** Ships from Amazon! Thanks!
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The Map Book Hardcover – November 15, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'offers a cultural insight that cannot be recommended too highly.' -- Andro Linklater The Spectator 'a fascinating collection' WANDERLUST 'this splendid book' -- Michael Kerrigan THE SCOTSMAN 'this fascinating, beautiful, lovingly-produced coffe-table book' -- Beatrice Sant HERITAGE 'a superbly illustrated and fascinating celebration of the map in its myriad forms over time.' TRAVELLER 'this book is immensely enriches by the accompanying explanatory text' -- Rosita Boland THE IRISH TIMES --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

'Journey over all the universe in a map, without the expense and fatigue of traveling, without suffering the inconveniences of heat, cold, hunger, and thirst.' --Miguel de Cervantes, in Don Quixote

From the earliest of times, maps have fired our imaginations and helped us make sense of our world, from the global to the very local. Head of Map Collections at the British Library, Peter Barber has here compiled an historic and lavish atlas, charting the progress of civilization as our knowledge of the world expanded.

Simply organized as a progression through time, The Map Book collects some 175 maps that span four millennia - from the famed prehistoric Bedolina (Italy) incision in rock from around 1500 B.C. to the most modern, digitally enhanced rendering. Many of the maos are beautiful works of art in their own right. From Europe to the Americas, Africa to Asia, north to south, there are maps of oceans and continents charted by heroic adventurers sailing into the unknown, as accounts spread of new discoveries, shadowy continents begin to appear n the margins of the world, often labeled 'unknown lands.' Other maps had a more practical use: some demarcated national boundaries or individual plots of land; military plans depicted enemy positions; propaganda treatises showed one country or faction at an advantage over others.

So much history resides in each map--cultural, mythological, navigational--expressing the unlimited extent of human imagination. This is captured in the accompanying texts--mini essays by leading map historians--that are as vivid and insightful as the maps themselves. They make The Map Book as much a volume to be read as to be visually admired.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books; First American Edition edition (November 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802714749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802714749
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 1.3 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"The Map Book" provides ample evidence of Mr. Barber's and his colleagues' knowledge and love of maps. The finely detailed reproductions of the historical maps alone would be worth the price the price of the book, but the addition of the well-informed and entertaining essays which accompany each map imbue the maps with greater meaning and provide a window into the thoughts, traditions, and motives of the mapmakers and those for whom the maps were intended. One could open this book at any page and become engrossed from the history and culture represented by each of the maps.

With the physical dimensions and glossy pages of a coffee table books, "The Map Book" goes beyond most of the genre by being not only pleasing to the eye, but stimulating to the mind as well. This book never fails to catch the attention of my guests and I never fail to be pleased at the undeserved compliments given to me from my simply having and displaying the book.
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Format: Hardcover
This book just arrived in the mail yesterday! Wow! I never thought I would be saying this about ANY item that takes almost three months to arrive (we are in the 21st century are we not?), but it was worth the wait. The breadth of this book's coverage is amazing - the organization by year is really interesting - you can see the progression of maps (and the dozens upon dozens of invented uses of maps). Many of the maps featured in this book seem to be rare gems. And the paper and print quality are top-notch. Best of all, this book tries to educate while it's busy pleasing the eye, asking its readers thought-provoking questions (like showing a composite satellite image and asking "is this a map"?).

More than just a coffee table book, I am excited to finally own this visual feast! Very thought-provoking... being a geek is cool again! :-)
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Format: Hardcover
I really looked forward to getting this book and wish I had read the reviews first. While I can enjoy the overall design of the maps, I certainly found my enjoyment lessened by the fact that I cannot read the print on most of them, even with a magnifying glass. This, in turn, lessened the appeal of the text. Just a mess, to be honest.

Didn't any editor notice the size of the print on the maps? Or are they sight-impaired?

I am just glad that I only paid $8 for this, used, including shipping.
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Format: Hardcover
This book blends a history lesson with interesting maps. Sometimes the maps leave you wanting more detail, but overall, it's an intriguing idea. I gave it as a gift to a map lover, and it was well received.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you love historical maps, this is a good starting point. A couple of hundred maps are presented; one page for the map and one for the text. Other reviewers have described the content further so I will just focus on what I perceived as weaknesses:
- Better resolution should have been used for printing. At least the hard cover edition should have been printed so well that one could use a magnifying glass to get more information. Still the resolution is better than similar books printed in the 90s.
- A bit too many maps prior to 1700, around half the book.
- A very UK-centric approach for the last 3-400 years. The French were producing maps very early (not covered), the Germans had great maps with interesting typography 100 years ago (not covered), the Russians have produced very odd maps, like the one's given to soldiers (not covered), and the Japanese also have interesting maps (not covered).
- The text is short and descriptive but not insightful. The book The Image of the World: 20 Centuries of World Maps has a much more insightful text. So that is the book you should read to better understand world maps.

If you want a coffee table book for the thinking person, this is a great choice. Four stars.
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Format: Hardcover
This sumptuous volume of maps covers the topic from a broad perspective. The illustrations are many and pleasing to the eye. But the book seems meant to be displayed on a coffee table as it is almost too heavy to hold and read comfortably. The writing is pedestrian.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great variety of maps..different time periods..lots of color plates (a must for me). Nice size. Hours of enjoyment. Beats so many others I have purchased in the past
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By Susan on January 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered this for my husband for Christmas. He browsed through it a time or two and recently picked it up to read more thoroughly. When he opened it, the back spine broke and opened completely, leaving the internal spine to secure the book. This was a great disappointment, since the maps in the book are fascinating. We've recently begun studying Roman history via some Teaching Company courses and thought this book would be a wonderful reference. Hopefully, a replacement will be sturdier.
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