From Mappa Mundi to Myst – the bestselling Just My Type author turns his gaze to maps. Maps have the most amazing stories – and Simon Garfield is the perfect author to tell them. This is a book that will inspire mapophiles but engage even those of us who stare blankly at an OS pathfinder's hieroglyphs. Just as Garfield found the magic in fonts, here he creates compelling narratives on everything from the challenge of mapping the oceans tospellbinding treasure maps to the naming of America, from Churchill's crucial war maps to the lay-out of a Monopoly board, from crime maps to music maps, from rare map dealers to cartographic frauds. En route, there are 'map-break' tales on Michelin and railway maps, how to fold a map maps of places that never existed, a London A-Z from 1677 and the weirdness of videogame mapping. On The Map will explain where we've been, how we got there and where we're going.
Simon Garfield is the author of a dozen acclaimed books of non-fiction, including the bestsellers Just My Type – a Book about Fonts and Our Hidden Lives, the edited diaries from the Mass Observation Archive. He lives in London and St Ives, with a strange miscellany of maps lining the walls.
"Every so often someone writes a book about an obscure subject and uses it to illuminate the rest of the world [...] this is one of the best"
– William Leith, Evening Standard
"After being walked through these stories, it's difficult to even look at a cereal packet in the same way again"
"This is a smart, funny, accessible book that does for typography what Truss's Eats, Shoots & Leaves did for punctuation"
– New York Times
"There couldn't be anyone better to write about our love of maps than Simon Garfield, who is a master at unearthing strange facts and mixing them with a lively personal narrative [...] fascinating"
– Giles Foden, Condé Nast Traveller
"Garfield has a genius for being sparked to life by esoteric enthusiasm and charming readers with his delight"
– Iain Finlayson, Times
"A rollicking sweep through map history, packed with curiosities and written with verve [...] On the Map will inspire you to take a trip to somewhere new, buy an antique globe to chart the rise and fall of empires, or just dig out a tatty orange Ordnance Survey Explorer map and let its filigree of contour lines evoke a long-forgotten walk in the rain [...] a great book"
– Independent on Sunday
"A stunning celebration of the cartographic. As one of the UK's leading contemporary polymaths, Garfield's always a joy to read for his gossamer-light show of rigorous learning, his shed-dweller precision in research and his infectious glee in passing on the golden nugget of fact"
"Garfield's genial prose twinkles with the delight of discovery"
"A pub quizzer's dream [...] Rather than over-romanticise the experience of map-reading, Garfield allows his varied, expertly researched stories to speak for themselves, and in so doing helps us see that there are fewer things in life more useful, rewarding and beautiful than a map that does what it's supposed to"
– Daily Telegraph
"He takes us on a fascinating voyage [...] and is a lively companion for the journey"
"He hops around the world, ancient and modern, with glee, dispensing information, both learned and chatty. On the Map is informative and entertaining, and good fun [...] fascinating"
– Irish Times
"Utterly charming and engrossing [...] A thoroughly enjoyable guide to guides"
– Daily Mail
"Beguiling [...] Garfield is like the schoolteacher who made the time fly, a one-man Blue Peter team for intelligent adults, a great British explainer"
"Simon Garfield has a gift for really making us think about things [...] Wonderful"
– Evening Standard
"Panoramic, erudite and enjoyable"
– Independent i Newspaper