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The Story of Maps Paperback – February 1, 1980

ISBN-13: 978-0486238739 ISBN-10: 0486238733

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The Story of Maps + The Mapmakers: Revised Edition + How to Lie with Maps (2nd Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (February 1, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486238733
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486238739
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 81 people found the following review helpful By dwdavison@aol.com on January 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
Brown traces the history of cartography from antiquity to the early twentieth century. The writing style is quite eloquent and lucid. The astronomical, trigonometric, and geometric factors that were influential in the evolution of mapmaking are presented in a mannner that does not exclude the general reader from appreciating the importance of these sciences in the development of geographical mensuration and surveying techniques. The book is replete with fascinating anecdotes of the cartographers themselves, along with intriguing accounts of how these individuals helped to determine the commercial and political successes of their governments and patrons. If you've ever wondered how influential Ptolemy's Almagest was on the Renaissance mind, or have been drawn to the sheer beauty of Mercator's craftsmanship; if you've ever been curious about how quadrants and theodolites functioned, or wondered about the importance of determining longitude for maritime trade, then this is a must read. The book is a Dover reprint of a classic scholarly work and is filled with 86 gorgeous black and white illustrations.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
As we learned from the example of Americo Vespucci, make a really good map and half the world can be named after you. In "The Story of Maps," Lloyd A. Brown provides an authoritative history of both maps and mapmakers, from the work of Strabo and Ptolemy to the 19th-century. Brown's treatise on the science of cartography and the men who set out to map the World was originally published in 1949. "The Story of Maps" is one of the standard early references for map collectors and a basic work in any cartographic reference collection. Brown covers both why maps were necessary and how they changed the world they were mapping out by impacting the economics and politics of nations (Brown's critique of the Portuguese is particularly compelling). This book contains over 80 illustrations, both photographs and drawings, which, unfortunately, suffer from being reduced in such a small format, especially for someone like me whose eyes and not what they once were, because once Brown explains the history behind such maps they are eminently more fascinating to pour over (albeit with a magnifying glass in my case).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Frikle on July 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
I found reading this to be a mixed experience. Basically the book contains a historical study of cartography, from its ancient origins to 1945ish when it was written. It is an overview of largely the development of ideas and the social conditions that existed at the time in terms of cartography (and the obviously related geography and astronomy).

Its main strength is the detail of description of social conditions, especially in terms of trade and empires from the 1500s and onwards, and how this impacted mapmaking and cartography. Thus, it does not present the "science" of it in isolation. It is also very good at describing the achievements of major figures in cartography, especially Ptolemy, Mercator and John Harrison. For all these, it's definitely a worthwhile read.

And now to the flaws. It contains TOO much social context and not enough science (I think) to be a standalone work in cartography. There is much discussion on longitude and latitude but nothing on the mechanics of projections and surveying - two very important gaps. The book also seems to perpetuate the myth (or at least the exaggeration) that most people in Europe believed in a flat earth for a very long time in the middle ages. It greatly exaggerates this devoting many pages to showing how stupid the medievals were by pointing to several authors/mapmakers. The reality is that while some of them were, looking at a T and O map (or any symbollic medieval map) and figuring that the creator was a flat-earther is jumping to comclusions. Also, these authors seem to have been much lower in prominence than suggested.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Charles W. Thaxter on December 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Brown writes The Story of Maps in a timeline through the developing and discoveries of cartography. It starts with a guy named Strabo who talks about his thoughts of Alexandria the city he was entering, first he talks about the history, astrology, and mythology of the world and Alexandria. The astronomy and mythology of the world in other people's views are made witch makes up the whole first chapter. The second chapter talks about the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, other lines and other ways to divide the earth. Then the world through Ptolemy view was told and how it was wrong (3rd Chapter). The middle ages or the "dark age" of cartography came when church beliefs and folklore "made" maps (4th). After time and chapters through charts, printing presses, Mercator projections, devices, circumference, and surveys developed into making a map of the world. At the end of the book it tells an awesome event that took place that captured my liking of the book that I think it will to you.

Brown is an excellent writer who shows everyone's views and beliefs even though they might be wrong but that is history. That makes the book more interesting because back then they thought everything was explored and there was no more advancement in technology but they're were wrong. Maybe now there is more to explore in the world and technology can advance. Brown shows and tells how cartography expanded and evolved through out history. Lloyd A. Brown writes a book worth its read only or mostly if you are interested in history, cartography and mythology and astrology. The book maybe long but its very interesting how Brown uses words of people, pictures of old maps and facts to make a wonderful book showing the history and evolution of map making.
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