"Cartographia," by Vincent Virga and the Library of Congress is an amazing volume that explores in depth the development of the art of cartogtraphy, map-making, from ancient times to the present. This handsome, over-sized, volume with full color photos of beautiful and rare maps throughout the ages, is a must-have for anyone interested in history, geography or maps.
The book is arranged in sections divided by region of the world (i.e. Mediterranean, Europe, the Americas, Asia, etc). The text is extremely informative, well-written and engaging, while also very concise and focused. The map photos are absolutely breath-taking! Apparently the U.S. Library of Congress map collection contains more than 4.8 million original maps, and more than 60,000 atlases from ancient times to the present- which is absolutely incredible in and of itself!
Some of the maps and sections I found most interesting were: the early maps of the "New World," with all their interesting speculations and inaccuracies; the maps of Egypt- both by the ancient Egyptians, as well as maps made by Napoleon's early 19th century expedition and others. This magnficient volume also includes some early road and transit maps made right around the time that the national highway system was beginning to take shape across America in the mid twentieth century.
I highly, highly recommend this excellent volume- not only for the amazing maps and excellent text, but also for a sense of perspective of how maps have been shaped by human cultural perceptions of those in power throughout the ages. It is also a great book for parents with school age children, or to display as a living room, coffee table conversation piece. Pick this one up, and enjoy!