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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
In 1901, a long-sought-after map that had eluded scholars for half a millennium was found: the Waldseemüller world map of 1507, the first map to name what was previously referred to as "the fourth part of the world." Labeling the new continent "America," the map was created by a small group of scholars and printers and was the first to depict the New World surrounded by water and to show the Western Hemisphere roughly as we know it today. In 1993, the Library of Congress, declaring the map "America's birth certificate," paid a staggering $10 million for the sole surviving copy.
Lester begins his engaging book with this amazing map and then goes beyond the map itself, examining the early hypotheses of scholars like Ptolemy, the conquests of Genghis Khan, the travels of Marco Polo, and the discoveries of Columbus. He explores how medieval and Renaissance thinkers slowly expanded their view of the world and takes readers on a journey through distant and exotic lands.
An omnivorous view of world history, geography, and discovery, The Fourth Part of the World introduces a diverse cast of characters: explorers, missionaries, rulers, mariners, merchants, scholars, poets, geographers, and mapmakers. The fitting conclusion of Lester's epic journey through history is the tale of the map itself: a record of the past, a commentary on the present, and a dream of the future in a new understanding of the world. (Holiday 2009 Selection)