Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations

Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations

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Overview


CARTOGRAPHIA offers a stunning array of 200 of the most beautiful, important, and fascinating maps in existence, from the world's largest cartographic collection, at the Library of Congress. These maps show how our idea of the world has shifted and grown over time, and each map tells its own unique story about nations, politics, and ambitions. The chosen images, with their accompanying stories, introduce the reader to an exciting new way of "reading" maps as travelogues—living history from the earliest of man's imaginings about planet earth to our current attempts at charting cyberspace.


Among the rare gems included in the book are the Waldseemuller Map of the World from 1507, the first to include the designation "America"; pages from the Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum of 1570, considered the first modern atlas; rare maps from Africa, Asia, and Oceania that challenge traditional Western perspectives; William Faulkner's hand-drawn 1936 map of the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi; and even a map of the Human Genome. In an oversized format, with gorgeous four-color reproductions throughout, Catrographia will appeal to collectors, historians, and anyone looking for a perfect gift.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316997669
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 10/25/2007
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 10.63(w) x 13.38(h) x 1.38(d)

About the Author

Vincent Virga is the author of EYES OF THE NATION: A VISUAL HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, which was a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club.

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Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Osbaldistone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Well, I'm kind of split on this one. This is a great, comprehensive treatment of maps across time, history, and cultures. That said, Virga's socio-political viewpoint leaks out throughout the book. So, it makes a great reference book for the evolution fo maps around the world, with lots of great color illustrations (though they make you want to track down a full-sized copy so you can read the details - keep a magnifying glass handy when you read this book). But to read cover to cover as a history, it gets a bit tiring. My general gripe with Virga's writing is that maps made by non-European cultures are wonderful, brilliant, advanced, etc., while maps made by Eurpoean cultures are tools for the spread of colonialism, capitalism, or any other -ism that European culture is typically criticised for. Regardless of ones opinion about this aspect of European history, it's usually not relevant to the topic at hand. An example of the introduction of a socio-political bias that in unnecessary to the purpose, is this line, regarding maps used to define international agreementsabout nations' economic boundaries into coastal waters - "...opponents in the United States argue that the Law of the Sea Treaty...interferes with private industry's right to profit at the expense of biodiversity". That last phrase ("at the expense of biodiversity) is almost certainly not what opponents argue, is dropped into the text with no basis in information already provided, and has nothing to do with the map or the discussion of the map except that there are opponents to such treaties.Anyway, it's actually a good book for background on maps from human history and from around the world. It's just best to take the text in small doses and try to set aside the blatant political commentary that slips in here and there.Os.
peacemover on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"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!