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The World Through Maps: A History of Cartography.

JOHN RENNIE SHORT

In theory, mapmaking is a no-nonsense profession. However, as Short tells it, political, economic, religious, and geographic biases of cartographers have influenced maps for millennia. In 1979, McArthur's Universal Corrective Map of the World put Australia on the top half. This may seem wacky, but Short points out that the Southern Hemisphere doesn't necessarily belong on the bottom. Nor is there a cosmic mandate that the prime meridian pass through Greenwich, England. Short charts not only the advance of mapmaking but also the events in civilization so deeply intertwined with cartography. Profiles of Gerardus Mercator and Claudius Ptolemy illustrate the science of mapping and explain the increasingly sophisticated tools of 40,000 years of cartography. Short puts the many maps printed on these pages in the context of history. Firefly, 2003, 224 p., color photos/illus., hardcover, $40.00.
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Publication:Science News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 27, 2003
Words:142
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