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Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline Paperback – February 1, 2012
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"Not all maps get us from A to Z; many chart decades of progress and centuries of change. This is a lavish guide to what makes us human, a sprawling, predominantly hand-drawn collection of infographics showing lyrical and linear ways to mark everything from the development of biblical thought to the spread of empires and the mapping of human sensation. Joseph Priestley's timelines of history and biography anchor themselves firmly in the middle." -- The Guardian (UK)
About the Author
Anthony Grafton is the Henry Putnam University Professor at Princeton University. He has written a number of books on European history, including Defenders of the Text, The Footnote, and What Was History?, and also writes on a wide variety of topics for the New Republic, American Scholar, the New York Review of Books, and the New Yorker. Daniel Rosenberg is associate professor of history at the University of Oregon. He has published widely on history, theory, and art, and his work appears frequently in Cabinet magazine, where he is editor-at-large.
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Top Customer Reviews
I will give you just one example from many. On page 143, the book shows two images from Auguste Comte's Positivist calendar from 1849. Each of these images is about 80mm by 40mm: about one-tenth the size of the original, as far as I can tell. Unless you are using the Large Hadron Collider to get a better view, the images provide only the vaguest of approximations.
There is no point in buying this book if you are over the age of 40: your eyes simply will not be able to cope without a magnifying glass and a Maglite for illumination. The font size of the body text is somewhere between eensy-weensy and really eensy-weensy, and the font size used for captions makes a 6-point font look like banner headlines.
I don't know if the publisher shafted the author, or if the author colluded in this massacre of his own vision. One day a better publisher will reprint the work in a much larger format, and then we shall have a truly great work to read.
As far as I can tell, it appears that the author's provided scanned images of many ancient documents to the designer at Princeton Architectural Press. The layout and type is all excellent. But, it looks like the majority of images were not properly sharpened in Photoshop (a standard procedure when using scanned images) before being imported into InDesign (or possibly QuarkXPress) for the production of the book. There are a few images that are sharp. They appear to be taken with a digital camera or are more modern timelines converted directly from EPS vector files for the layout. In one example you can see the original scan, fuzzy, and next to it a sharpened close up of a part of the very same image.
If it is not a problem with the designer doing sharpening of images, than it is some kind of problem with the printer overseas either using the wrong image data or un-sharpening the images in some way.
It does not appear to be a screen alignment issue or something physically done wrong in printing. (Although, on a few signatures, the text is foggy but I think that is the ink thinning out - a consequence, perhaps, of Princeton Architectural Press saving money by going to overseas for printing.)
Why do sharp illustrations matter in this book? Because it is all about very detailed graphs. It is nearly useless because one cannot make out any of the details in the images printed in the book.
Really a shame that this disaster happened. The designer and the editor should have caught this in the proofs and corrected it before publication. If it was entirely the printer's fault (it is could be) then Princeton Architectural Press has a good cause to go back to the printer and find out what happened and hopefully, the printer will redo it if it was the output or printer's mistake.
The book would only be worth buying if very deeply discounted. If recalled and reprinted properly, I would give it 5 stars. It is otherwise a fascinating book.
The only problems I can say are these. One is physical. This book should be twice its (10.7 x 8.7 x 1.1 inches) size. Some images are large enough and clear enough to show minute detail; many, far too many, are too small and blurry. You can get the gist of these images, but it is disappointing to find so many grand timelines that are too small to read. You will need a powerful magnifying glass to fully enjoy this book. The second problem is that the historical atlas is virtually ignored. True, maps are intertwined and integral to many of the timelines, but the maps that show chronological time are absent. True, this subject is covered elsewhere (in the unfortunately horribly boring "Maps and History" by Jeremy Black), but it should be addressed - these are indeed other ways of representing time, and the very epitome of "Cartographies of Time."
All in all though, this book is a MUST for all historians, for all map lovers, and for all theological scholars interested in the representation of church history, biblical chronology, and biblical prophecy. And it is a fine, medium-paced read.