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Richard Saul Wurman's New Road Atlas: U.S. Atlas Paperback – October, 1991

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Paperback, October, 1991
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Product Details

  • Series: Us Atlas
  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Paper) (October 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0139322450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0139322457
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,443,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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An interesting book but nothing more than a graphic curiosity now and even when it came out in 1991 I doubt it was any better than the Rand McNally that seems to be in most cars, usually under a seat. Wurman, though, did have a go at making a simpler and interesting highway atlas. For a start it isn't State based but lays a grid over the country and creates a series of forty-two spreads each 250 by 500 miles and starting in Washington and moving up and down across the country with the last spread Florida. A clever idea was to put thumbnails of the spreads on the cover (and nicely each one gets a drop shadow to create a sort of 3D effect) so the reader can quickly go to the right page, there is a complete Contents inside.

The book is in several sections: the first eighty-one pages have maps of the country, the next forty-four are city/suburb maps (twenty-five by twenty-five miles) fifteen pages of city street maps (five by five miles) then a sixteen page index. Perhaps the best thing about the country maps is that Wurman deleted a huge amount of detail that proper map books feel inclined to include. Each map spread has a wide margin left and right that carries historical highlights and what to see in that map area. Highways are in white with tone shadow effect and they do look very accessible visually. The suburb and city maps repeat the historical and contemporary text but across the top of each spread.

This is a rather attractive atlas, every page in color and though it is a square paperback it can be opened flat thanks to the Otabind method (very impressive) but now I think it will only interest designers who are in the infographic business and cartographers who collect books that took a flesh approach to mapping.
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