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Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Ken Jennings

Kindle-Preis: EUR 12,16 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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“Jennings is a very witty, insightful writer and has written an entertaining and educational book about maps and the geeks who obsess over them.” —Pauline Frommer, travel writer and founding editor of

“It’s a fun read that’s not just for wonks.” —The Salt Lake Tribune

“[A] spirited layman’s history of cartography.” ­—Harpers


It comes as no surprise that, as a kid, Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings slept with a bulky Hammond world atlas by his pillow every night. Maphead recounts his lifelong love affair with geography and explores why maps have always been so fascinating to him and to fellow enthusiasts everywhere.

Jennings takes readers on a world tour of geogeeks from the London Map Fair to the bowels of the Library of Congress, from the prepubescent geniuses at the National Geographic Bee to the computer programmers at Google Earth. Each chapter delves into a different aspect of map culture: highpointing, geocaching, road atlas rallying, even the “unreal estate” charted on the maps of fiction and fantasy. He also considers the ways in which cartography has shaped our history, suggesting that the impulse to make and read maps is as relevant today as it has ever been.


From the “Here be dragons” parchment maps of the Age of Discovery to the spinning globes of grade school to the postmodern revolution of digital maps and GPS, Maphead is filled with intriguing details, engaging anecdotes, and enlightening analysis. If you’re an inveterate map lover yourself—or even if you’re among the cartographically clueless who can get lost in a supermarket—let Ken Jennings be your guide to the strange world of mapheads.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 8952 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 290 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 1439167176
  • Verlag: Scribner; Auflage: Reprint (20. September 2011)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B004IK98BK
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Nicht aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #261.328 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

  •  Ist der Verkauf dieses Produkts für Sie nicht akzeptabel?

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.5 von 5 Sternen  134 Rezensionen
86 von 87 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Map Geeks, Ahoy! And the rest of us will have fun, too 23. September 2011
Von Blair Dee Hodges - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Although I expected a trivia book--perhaps even a trivial book--Ken Jennings manages to seamlessly weave fun factoids into compelling narratives about geography lovers. Jennings spends time with kids at the National Geography Bee (which is where Alex Trebek dissed American knowledge of geography!). He talks to road geeks who notice differing fonts on various interstate road signs ("Look for the curved tail on the lowercase `l'!"). He touches on about border disputes, gender, brain science, pop culture, politics, history, and religion. In the course of researching for the book he even became addicted to geocaching, a treasure hunting game played by GPS owners all over the world--a pastime which Jennings sees as a human attempt to re-infuse the world with treasure and mystery. "Cartophilia" is alive and well, and Jennings hopes to spread the love: "If you never open a map until you're lost," he insists, "you're missing out on all the fun" (120). His book is a lot of fun.
65 von 70 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen I don't even like geography 20. September 2011
Von Lilly Nelson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I'm notoriously bad at geography, but this book is nonetheless interesting and easy to read. I love Ken's style of mixing hardcore nerdy knowledge with enough personal and/or humorous detail that you don't feel you are just wading through a bunch of facts. It makes geography sound so sexy and cool that I just want to go buy an atlas.

I'm reading on Kindle and the format seems great, other than the afore-mentioned duplicated first illustration. The book was delivered to my Kindle at 12:02 am this morning, so I couldn't ask for better service there!
48 von 51 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Well-researched and well-written 21. September 2011
Von T. Rex - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I was expecting that this would have more maps and visuals, which is why I bought a paper edition instead of Kindle or iBooks. Now that I have it I think it would work fine on Kindle, though I can't speak to that edition.

As for the content, I'm a loyal reader of Ken's blog, which should give you a feel for whether you like his style or not. If you do, the subject matter won't matter. But even if you don't, you'll probably appreciate this book if you're a geography buff.
41 von 44 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Ken Jennings You Just Lost the Game on Page 3 23. September 2011
Von Eric Selby - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I cannot believe that I have found Ken Jennings making a factual error. And he did so immediately on page 3 of this wonderful read. "Look how Ardmore, Alabama, is only a hundred feet away from its neighbor Ardmore, Louisiana..."
I am no Ken Jennings, not even close, although I watched every one of his appearances of "Jeopardy!" and recall the day he wasn't able to recall H&R Block. Love this guy.
But, Ken, even I know that there is a state between Alabama and Louisiana--Mississippi. So I did a Google search. Seems there is no Ardmore, Louisiana, but the Ardmore in Alabama is in the north central. And I thought, maybe Tennessee. And sure enough, there it is, Ken, in Tennessee.
So that set me on a search for more factual errors in the book. But alas, alack, I just got so sucked up in the book I forgot what my task was.
This is just a delightful read. And, no, you do not need to be a geography nerd. Or a map nerd. I'm not although I do find myself Googling maps a lot. And when Ken Jennings writes about slutty place names as well as unusual geographic circumstances, I am brought back to my early life when I grew up in Derby Line, Vermont, the "line" there to indicate that the Quebec border is there. The local library, the Haskell Free, is half in the U.S. and half in Cananda. And above is the opera house where the state is in Quebec and the audience--or most of it--sits in the United States. Back then we thought nothing of this, but today it is not the case. Ken Jennings missed telling this tale, so I thought I would.
It is filled with great stories including one I particularly like which occurred decades ago with a University of Miami geography professor--back when universities actually had geography professors--who gave a little quiz to find out what his students knew about where places were located in the world. Seems London wasn't happy about how few students knew where the city was located. And that turned into a huge media event that cost the professor his job. But the story doesn't end there. Ken keeps bringing it back to us.
This is not a book that is filled with bunches of unrelated facts. Instead it is a journey into all types of things including Ken's views about the quality of our educational system in this country. We are better than Mexico! And that isn't exactly the standard No Child Left Behind was trying to achieve! I'm a teacher and I agree with Ken. Disaster!
Did you know that pirates never made treasure maps? Did you know there is no place for Santa Claus to actually live in the North Pole? These are pieces of information we need to keep secret from young children, of course.
Did you know that the Library of Congress has zillions of maps from all over the world? And right there in the words of Columbus contemporary, Vespucci, in letters sent back to Europe is just how hot and slutty Caribbean women were.
I have read the other Ken Jennings books. And liked them.
The chapter dealing with National Geographics' national geography bee is worth the price of the book alone. It is just so wonderful as he follows these brainy kids. It is also interesting to me that Alex Trebek is the person who asks the questions in the finals held in Washington, D. C. I recall thinking that Alex Trebek had become just a little annoyed with Ken Jennings during that long "Jeopardy!" stretch that I and millions of others so much enjoyed. And the way Mr. Jennings writes about Alex Trebek, I sense that the feelings are mutual, respectful but...
But this is the best yet. Don't hesitate to order it. I see one reader wasn't that enchanted. I doubt there will be many others who feel that way.
15 von 15 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Geography Is Everything! 30. November 2011
Von L. King - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
One of my children's geography teachers had a saying that "Geography is Everything!" - by knowing where things were we could understand history and why people act the way they do. I'm a maphead like Ken Jennings. Sort of. Like him I grew up with a puzzle map and a cardboard globe and an ablum of stamps from far off places applied cautiously with little sticky semi-transparent hinges with a spot for a unobtainable penny farthing just in case. And put me in a far off city and I can figure out how to get around in under a day and get from A to B because I've presearched it through maps, though these days I'm more likely to have used MapQuest or Google Earth. So I agree.

Jennings book does a good job of popularizing people's enthusiasm for maps. Beginning with the concern that Americans know less than they should about geography he relates the story of University of Miami associate professor David Helgren, who in 1983 received undue noteriety when his story of how poorly students in his first year class were able to locate items in a list of 30 place names including the cities of Miami and Chicago. Speculatively there are number of reasons to consider, including the rise in protective parents who were afraid to let their children bike and explore their neighbourhoods alone and the high % of students who are driven to and from school.

There's lots of interesting map lore, and interesting segments on private map collectors, map thieves and the huge archive of maps available for perusing in public facilities such as libraries and the Smithsonian. It is humbling to realize that the 1st national survey of modern times started by Geovani Cassini in 1670 was only finished 100 years later by his grandson.

Maps of unknown territories are looked at, including the earliest known map (dated 1507) of North America for which the Library of Congress Paid $10 million dollars. Cartographers would label unknown regions as "terra nullis" but still fancifully add rivers and mountains just in case. Novelists situated their adventures in "darkest Africa", hidden valleys of Shangi-La or deserted islands just off the known shipping lanes - where anything could happen precisely because it was not mapped out. As geographic science filled the map, fiction moved off world and into alternate realities. What would "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings be without the map of "Middle Earth", or EarthSea without the Kirgad Lands and the far Reaches or Harry Potter without the Marauder's map showing the location of friends, enemies and the shifting location of the Room of Necessity, though some might complain that make believe worlds such as found in online games such as Halo or Second Life don`t count because they aren't real..

It's an enjoyable read with lots of fun facts, yet IMV spends too much time on naval gazing on at popular American culture. I liked reading about the high pressure National Geographic Bee hosted by Jeopardy's Alex Trebek, geography's counterpart to the Scripps Spelling Bee - it probably should get further exposure. and I can only dream of joining the Century Club who's members have been to over 100 different nations. But off the top of my head I'd say that he should have spent a chapter on mathematics and maps, ie: the 4-color problem and the fractal nature of borders leading to different measurements of national contours, depending on how precisely they are measured. And while he touches on national sensitivities such as in the naming of the Persian/Arabian Gulf and unusual names such as Sexmoan or Dildo, there was a lot he could have contributed on how controversial the drawing of borders and naming of places (Istanbul/Constantinople or Taiwan/Formosa) can be, including the notion of where international waters begin. Nor is the landscape permanent - in our lifetime we may see the disappearance of several island nations due to rising sea levels and we'll also face the question of who owns the Northwest Passage should the sea lanes remain open for most of the year.

Nonetheless it was quite entertaining.
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