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On the Map  By  cover art

On the Map

By: Simon Garfield
Narrated by: Simon Shepherd
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Publisher's summary

Maps fascinate us. They chart our understanding of the world and they log our progress, but above all they tell our stories. From the early sketches of philosophers and explorers through to Google Maps and beyond, Simon Garfield examines how maps both relate and realign our history.

His compelling narratives range from the quest to create the perfect globe to the challenges of mapping Africa and Antarctica, from spellbinding treasure maps to the naming of America, from Ordnance Survey to the mapping of Monopoly and Skyrim and from rare map dealers to cartographic frauds. En route, there are "pocket map" tales on dragons and undergrounds, a 19th-century murder map, the research conducted on the different ways that men and women approach a map, and an explanation of the curious long-term cartographic role played by animals. On the Map is a witty, irrepressible examination of where we've been, how we got there, and where we're going.

©2012 Simon Garfield (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about On the Map

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jo
  • 02-23-13

If you like maps & history, get this book!

This books covers just about all aspects of maps. While I'm not a map collector, maps have always been intoxicating for me and this book is the back story. It's amazing what people have accomplished! "On The Map" is full of history on exploration, cartography, collecting, dealing, and fraud to present day mapping with satellites, gaming, and contemporary art. So if you like maps and you like history, this book is for you!

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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful in every way.

On the Map is filled with wonder - at our world and beyond and how man/woman has tried to capture the three dimensional in two. Garfield never misses the opportunity for a touch of humor and also never misses the placing of an apt analogy at the right point.
The reading is lively and modulated in the right places.
Just wonderful.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Engages our need for curiosity

I've bern fascinated by history and by maps for over 60 years, starting with being chosen as co-pilot by my father for family road trips, to Trip-Tics, to using USGS maps for drawing site plans as an architect, to Google maps (never Apple Maps) and all it has evolved into, to birds eye view maps of historic places, to mapping the stars. This book matches my insatiable curiosity for both! Even though I thought certain chapters would not be of interest I always learned something. The reader engagingly shares the authors sense of wonderment and dry British wit, and I could not recommend it more highly to anyone who considers themselves a life-long learner. Looking forward to visiting the "mapamundi" at the Library of Congress.

The reason I did not give it 5 stars on performance - clumsy insertion of new reading in a lower tone throughout the last few chapters.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed it, but wouldn't re-listen to it.

Would you listen to On the Map again? Why?

Perhaps some book marked sections, or chapters, but not in it's entirety. I just didn't care about some sections in the book, while others were fantastic.

Would you recommend On the Map to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes. It's super informative

What about Simon Shepherd’s performance did you like?

Good to listen to, accent, clear, lively

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No.. I listened to it while travelling and sleep deprived, and though listening to it's section on the Drake Passage while I was literally on a boat crossing the Drake Passage was interesting, there are long long drawn out sections that made it hard to stay awake.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Informative history, with a modern perspective

Just like any good map, there's some detail in "On the Map" that you're probably not going to be very interested in, but most of the territory is fascinating, and fun to learn about, and to explore.

The writing, research, content, and organization is all top notch, providing unique historical perspectives that otherwise would be hard to come by.

And the narration is excellent. Simon Shepard's British pronunciations can occasionally seem amusing to an American, but his interpretation is alert and focused—very easy to listen to.

I wouldn't be surprised if I pick this one out of my library and give it a second listen some day.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting but not a must have.

Certainly an interesting subject with many surprises, but it lacks something. Very UK centric.

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