Sunday, February 2, 2014

A History of the World in 12 Maps by Jerry Brotton

I really enjoyed this book but it is a little academic in nature.  In it, we look at 12 maps and the impact they had.  But the book is so much more sophisticated than that.  Brottan, a scholar in the field, is amazing in putting maps into context.  How did they evolve and how do they fit into their time and interests?

Brottan digs into the history, context and even art related to key maps both today and heading back into antiquity.  I'd never really thought so much about maps and how they impact our concept of the world.  But truly we do define boundaries and put our reality into the context of pictures.

Each of the narrative is gripping and gives us an insight into the time and society around it.  I loved dropping into these different worlds and understanding how and why things came to be perceived a certain way.  And I knew nothing about maps beforehand (a huge lapse).

Personally, for me the first map, which arose out of Alexandria and its great library, most stuck with me.  For I learned about the beginning of putting his world on paper.

For me, this book was an all around great read.  Wonderful and engaging narrative.  But it isn't light.

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