How to Lie with Maps

( 2 )

Overview


Originally published to wide acclaim, this lively, cleverly illustrated essay on the use and abuse of maps teaches us how to evaluate maps critically and promotes a healthy skepticism about these easy-to-manipulate models of reality. Monmonier shows that, despite their immense value, maps lie. In fact, they must.

The second edition is updated with the addition of two new chapters, 10 color plates, and a new foreword by renowned geographer H. J. de Blij. One new chapter examines...

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Overview


Originally published to wide acclaim, this lively, cleverly illustrated essay on the use and abuse of maps teaches us how to evaluate maps critically and promotes a healthy skepticism about these easy-to-manipulate models of reality. Monmonier shows that, despite their immense value, maps lie. In fact, they must.

The second edition is updated with the addition of two new chapters, 10 color plates, and a new foreword by renowned geographer H. J. de Blij. One new chapter examines the role of national interest and cultural values in national mapping organizations, including the United States Geological Survey, while the other explores the new breed of multimedia, computer-based maps.

To show how maps distort, Monmonier introduces basic principles of mapmaking, gives entertaining examples of the misuse of maps in situations from zoning disputes to census reports, and covers all the typical kinds of distortions from deliberate oversimplifications to the misleading use of color.

"Professor Monmonier himself knows how to gain our attention; it is not in fact the lies in maps but their truth, if always approximate and incomplete, that he wants us to admire and use, even to draw for ourselves on the facile screen. His is an artful and funny book, which like any good map, packs plenty in little space."—Scientific American

"A useful guide to a subject most people probably take too much for granted. It shows how map makers translate abstract data into eye-catching cartograms, as they are called. It combats cartographic illiteracy. It fights cartophobia. It may even teach you to find your way. For that alone, it seems worthwhile."—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

". . . witty examination of how and why maps lie. [The book] conveys an important message about how statistics of any kind can be manipulated. But it also communicates much of the challenge, aesthetic appeal, and sheer fun of maps. Even those who hated geography in grammar school might well find a new enthusiasm for the subject after reading Monmonier's lively and surprising book."—Wilson Library Bulletin

"A reading of this book will leave you much better defended against cheap atlases, shoddy journalism, unscrupulous advertisers, predatory special-interest groups, and others who may use or abuse maps at your expense."—John Van Pelt, Christian Science Monitor

"Monmonier meets his goal admirably. . . . [His] book should be put on every map user's 'must read' list. It is informative and readable . . . a big step forward in helping us to understand how maps can mislead their readers."—Jeffrey S. Murray, Canadian Geographic

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
An updated edition covering the use and abuse of maps, from basic principles of mapmaking to distortions such as deliberate oversimplification and the misleading use of symbols. Ample illustrations, with four pages in color. First published in 1991. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From Barnes & Noble
This book examines the ways maps can mislead us through distortions born of ignorance, greed, ideological blindness, or deliberate malice. "...an artful and funny book, which like any good map, packs plenty in little space."-- Scientific American
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226534213
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 222
  • Sales rank: 347,948
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents


Foreword
Acknowledgments
1: Introduction
2: Elements of the Map
3: Map Generalization: Little White Lies and Lots of Them
4: Blunders That Mislead
5: Maps That Advertise
6: Development Maps (or, How to Seduce the Town Board)
7: Maps for Political Propaganda
8: Maps, Defense, and Disinformation: Fool Thine Enemy
9: Large-Scale Mapping, Culture, and the National Interest
10: Data Maps: Making Nonsense of the Census
11: Color: Attraction and Distraction
12: Multimedia, Experiential Maps, and Graphic Scripts
13: Epilogue
Appendix: Latitude and Longitude
Selected Readings for Further Exploration
Sources of Illustrations
Index
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2006

    some interesting points, but odd in places

    The greatest shortcoming of this potentially interesting book is its author's tendency to wander off onto editorial tangents. In some places, this simply colors topics with the author's political outlook, but in others, the commentary becomes so odd that the author loses credibility. For example, in the section about how maps can be manipulated to hide the impact of new development, he complains that people (!) are not included on the maps. I¿m no expert, but I¿m fairly sure that people are generally not depicted on maps. He becomes downright conspiratorial when he describes changes in topographical maps of Love Canal, that the 1946 map 'fail[s] to indicate the use of the canal ... as a dump for chemical waste' and that the 1980 map 'ignores the area's tragic history', nevermind that these are topographic maps, not designed to describe environmental impact (which was likely not a concern when the 1946 map was made) or show the history of an area. These and other anachronistic and/or editorial flights of fancy are distractions which may lead some readers to question the more concrete points made by the author.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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