am 7. November 2014
"A History of the World in 12 Maps" by Jerry Brotton is an unusual and successful experiment to tell the history of the world through 12 maps throughout human past and present.
Inside his interesting book Brotton brought and describe twelve maps from Ptolemy's Geography made in year 150 until Google Earth map from year 2012, together with ten other maps which were drawn in the meantime.
These other 10 maps are:
- year 1154 - Muhammad Al-Idrisi maps created for the King of Sicily
- year 1300 - The Mappamundi from Italy
- year 1402 - Kangnido World Map from Japan Empire, one of the oldest maps that picture East Asia
- year 1507 - Martin Waldseemuller from Germany made world map where term America was first time used
- year 1529 - Diogo Ribeiro map called first scientific map ever
- year 1569 - Map from Gerard Mercator from Belgium that used a navigational grid
- year 1662 - Dutch Joan Blaeu Atlas major
- year 1793 - Map of French Republic made by Cassini family, the first maps that used triangular measuring
- year 1904 - Halford Mackinder maps, the first geopolitical maps
- year 1973 - Arno Peters projection map, his invention
The author is showing world history and evolution of man knowledge through world maps tracing science and social powers that influenced authors while they were making their maps.
From today's perspective it's interesting to learn about all the influences that existed and acted on authors - political, social and even personal - which remained forever recorded in their artistic and scientific works important for human history.
Through development of the maps reader can track and see the different disposition of geopolitical forces; depending on the time when individual map was created as well as the gradual development of scientific tools that made work for authors a bit easier until the technology fully assumed human role with which the book ends.
And though at first sight it might seem that a book of 550 pages can be difficult to fulfill with the story about 12 maps, the author manages to give plenty of information not only about maps and their authors, but the whole background that surrounded their creation, making this book at the same time a political one, not only historical and cartographic.
Hence this interesting scientific, historical and political work with a touch of trivia can certainly be recommended for reading/looking, proving a point that even something that's completely objective as geography can be reflected with author's vision and subjective interpretation.
Considering the ease with which book is read and how interesting it is, I can fully recommend it to everyone, not just for experts on the historical, political and/or cartographic fields.