Where Fascination is Found: Great Books on Maps

Posted on December 26, 2018

by Amy H

In an age where our phones tell us where to go and we have to squint to see where we’re at on a tiny screen, beautiful and fascinating books on maps are more vital than ever! Take a look at one or more of these beauties …

Beautiful and Fascinating Books on Maps

Theater of the World: the Maps that Made History by Thomas Reinertsen Berg

This award-winning book takes us all the way from the mysterious symbols of the Stone Age to Google Earth, exploring how the ability to envision what the world looked like developed hand in hand with worldwide exploration.

Along the way, we meet visionary geographers and heroic explorers along with other unknown heroes of the map-making world, both ancient and modern. The stunning visual material allows us to witness the extraordinary breadth of this history with our own eye.

History of the World Map by Map by the Editors at Dorling Kindersley

More than 140 detailed maps tell the story of pivotal episodes in world history, from the first human migrations out of Africa to the space race.

Beautifully designed regional and global maps present patterns of exploration, discovery, or conquest that created empires, colonies, or theaters of war. Broad, sweeping introductions provide a chance to step back and look at entire periods, such as World War II, or to explore overarching themes, such as the Industrial Revolution. Picture spreads focus on epoch-defining developments, such as the rises of fascism and communism, and the invention of printing.

Beyond the Map: Unruly Enclaves, Ghostly Places, Emerging Lands and Our Search for New Utopias by Alastair Bonnett

New islands are under construction or emerging because of climate change. Eccentric enclaves and fantastic utopian experiments are multiplying.

Bonnett takes us to thirty-nine incredible spots around the globe to stimulate our geographical imagination. Some maps show disruptive contemporary political turbulence, such as the rise of ISIL, Russia’s incursions into Ukraine and the Brexit vote in the United Kingdom. Others explore the secret places not shown on Google Earth or reflect fast-changing landscapes. From the phantom tunnels of the Tokyo subway to virtual cybertopias—here is an imaginative guide to the farthest fringes of geography. See also Bonnett’s “Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies

Atlas of World War II: History’s Greatest Conflict Revealed Through Rare Wartime Maps and New Cartography by Neil Kagan and Stephen G. Hyslop

This magnificent atlas delves into the cartographic history of WWII: naval, land, and aerial attacks from the invasion of Poland to Pearl Harbor and the Battle of the Bulge. Rare maps include a detailed Germany & Approaches map used by Allied forces in the final stages of the war, full large-scale wartime maps of the world used by President Roosevelt, and crucial Pacific theater maps used by B-17 pilots. Gripping wartime stories from these hallowed fields of battle, along with photographs, sketches, confidential documents, and artifacts color the rest of this timeless and informative book.

And Furthermore …

Myths, Cursed Places, Maps and States

Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps by Edward Brooke-Hitching

Discover the mysteries within ancient maps where exploration and mythology meet.

This richly illustrated book collects and explores the colorful histories behind a striking range of antique maps. It’s a world of ghost islands, invisible mountain ranges, mythical civilizations, ship-wrecking beasts, and other fictitious features introduced on maps and atlases through mistakes, misunderstanding, fantasies, and outright lies. “The Phantom Atlas” uses gorgeous atlas images as springboards for tales of deranged buccaneers, seafaring monks, heroes, swindlers, and other amazing stories behind cartography’s most imaginative creations.

Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Frightful Destinations by Olivier Le Carrer & Sibylle Le Carrer

Oliver Le Carrer brings us a fascinating history and armchair journey to the world’s most dangerous and frightful places, complete with vintage maps and period illustrations in a handsome volume.

This alluring read includes 40 locations that are rife with disaster, chaos, paranormal activity, and death. The locations gathered here include the dangerous Strait of Messina, home of the mythical sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis; the coal town of Jharia, where the ground burns constantly with fire; Kasanka National Park in Zambia, where 8 million migrating bats darken the skies; the Nevada Triangle in the Sierra Nevada mountains, where hundreds of aircraft have disappeared; and Aokigahara Forest near Mount Fuji in Japan, the world’s second most popular suicide location following the Golden Gate Bridge

How to Make Hand-Drawn Maps: A Creative Guide with Tips, Tricks and Projects by Helen Cann

With wonderful examples and easy-to-follow instructions, this beautifully illustrated how-to book makes it simple and fun to create one-of-a-kind hand-drawn maps. Helpful templates, grids, and guidelines complement a detailed breakdown of essential cartographic elements and profiles of talented international map artists. From city maps and family trees to treasure maps, palmistry charts, platform game maps, and more, the wide range of projects collected here will satisfy first-time cartographers as well as veteran mapmakers inspired by the popular map art trend.

How the States Got Their Shapes and How the States Got Their Shapes Too : The People Behind the Borderlines by Mark Stein

An accessible history of how each of the fifty United States obtained their unique shapes offers insight into such topics as the super-sized geography of Texas, Oklahoma’s panhandle, and Maryland’s unusual layout, in a lighthearted chronicle that features complementary information on land disputes and military skirmishes. Also available on DVD.

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