A unique, highly accessible, lavishly illustrated introduction to the history of maps, which have been at the forefront of altering our perceptions of the world and our place within it.
Maps are not just diagrams of the route from A to B - from the earliest times they have helped us make sense of our world, from the very local to the global. Simply organised as a progression through time, each map is not only a beautiful work of art in its own right but also tells us about our changing perception of the earth. Sometimes, of course, maps tell lies and there are examples represented here that are meant to alter or influence our understanding of the world around us. There are maps of oceans and continents charted by heroic adventurers sailing into the unknown, at sea for years in tiny ships. For every example of a beautifully embellished map that has survived there must have been scores of cartographers who perished at sea or in 'unknown parts'. Maps are not just about understanding and representing the physical world. They have an administrative use in demarcating national boundaries or individual plots of land, a social use in showing who lives where, a military use in depicting the layout of enemy positions, a political or propaganda use in showing one country or faction at an advantage over others. All are represented in this book, a history of the world in images from around the globe and from every epoch.