Friday 28 December 2012

A History of the World in Twelve Maps

Jerry Brotton, 2012
(December 2012)

Maps? History? You’d better believe I’m all up in that shit right here.

(The vernacular’s just so wonderfully expressive, don’t you find?)

This is as much a history of Geography as a discipline as it is of maps and mapping, and obviously that’s something dear to my heart. I suspect others might not be as fascinated by it as I am, but maps are the most literal expression of how we see the world around us and I think everyone would benefit from examining that a little more closely.

The cartographic gang’s all here; Ptolemy, Mercator, Gall-Peters et al are all present and correct and this is an intelligently structured and exceptionally well told story. I have nothing bad to say about this book. It’s been a while since I gambled on an author I don’t know in hardback, but I’m very glad I did this time. Wonderful.


  1. I love me some maps, too. I've loved maps since I was a kid, and I've made so many maps over the years just for fun. I still enjoy standing in front of a world map just looking.

    1. A man after my own heart. There's one at the back of the Language Lab at work and I'll still get distracted by it when I'm doing lesson prep.

    2. Ever get lost on Google Maps? I've spent quite some time just exploring.

    3. :) Yeah, absolutely. The final chapter of this book is about google maps. I did GIS courses as both an under- and post-graduate so that caused it all to come flooding back.

    4. Geography is something I could have taken in university. I've always been good with maps. Photographic memory with maps is a great thing to have :)