Mike Parker, presenter of Radio 4's On the Map, celebrates the richness of all things maps in this fantastic, critically-acclaimed read.
Have you ever got through an entire day without referring to some kind of navigational aide, be it checking the A-Z, touring the globe on Google Earth, planning a walk or navigating a shopping centre? Maps are everywhere and they are, according to self-proclaimed map-addict Mike Parker, the unsung heroes of life. Here he sings their song, celebrating everything cartographic.
With a mix of wry observation and hard fact, the offbeat and the completely pedantic, Parker wages a one-man war against the moronic blandishments of the Sat Nav age. He combines cartographic history and trivia with memoir and oblique observation to create a highly readable exposé of the world of maps. Only here can you find out which area has officially been named by the OS as the most boring square kilometre in the land and whether Milton Keynes was really built to pagan alignment.
Confessing that his own impressive map collection was founded on a virulent teenage shoplifting habit Parker ponders how a good leftie can be so gung-ho about British cartographic imperialism and establishes himself as defender and saviour of British cartography in the internet age.
Mike Parker has had a varied career, which at one point saw him working as a stand-up comedian. He has been widely published and also presents various travel programmes for radio and television. His books to date include the Rough Guide to Wales as well as several other guidebooks. He writes freelance travel pieces for most of the UK papers, including the Independent, the Independent on Sunday, the Guardian, the Sunday Times and the Mirror.
"Mike Parker offers an exhilarating celebration of the humble map."
– Mail on Sunday
– Daily Telegraph
"This eclectic, funny and warm book should be on the shelves of everyone who has spent hours staring at a map."
– The Great Outdoors
"a witty entreaty to leave the satnav in the car, and to head for the hills with the Ordnance Survey."
– BBC Country File magazine
"a highly engaging and thoughtful, haphazard and personal, meander around maps and map-related arcane."
– Daily Mail
"Parker makes his view of cartography both interesting and funny."
– Choice magazine
"a funny, observant and genuinely interesting book."
– Adventure Travel
"As you'd expect, given Mike's legendary wit, this is a book that's well worth a read."
– Midland Zone
"In fact, it is a sense of mischievousness that makes this book quite charming."
– South Wales Argus
"Nerdy it might seem, but the author's humour and historical knowledge of mad map makers, visionary breakthroughs and a deep love of exploration make this little book a treat."
– Royston Crow
"Parker uses his own experience to add warmth and humour to a topic that may not, at first glance, appear enticing to the average reader. Accessible and entertaining."
– Country & Border Life
"Parker proves a witty and engaging guide"