Every year, at about this time of year, I assemble a gift guide listing some of the noteworthy books about maps that have been published over the previous year. This list is by no means comprehensive, but if you have a map-obsessed person in your life and you’d like to give that person a map-related gift, this list might give you some ideas.
This year’s list includes several lavishly illustrated histories of maps and globes, interesting reads about map thieves and forgotten places, an a couple of guides to map art and personal mapmaking.
Once again, books bought through these Amazon affiliate links (routed to what my web server thinks is your nearest English-language Amazon store) make me a little money. Thanks for your support.
Illustrated Histories of Map and Mapmaking
- Great Maps by Jerry Brotton (Dorling Kindersley, August 2014). The author of A History of the World in Twelve Maps returns with an illustrated look at the history of cartography through nearly 60 historical maps. Wired Map Lab.
- Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation, and Power by Sylvia Sumira (University of Chicago Press, April 2014). A history of globes from the late fifteenth to the late nineteenth century, showcasing the British Library’s extensive globe collection. My blog post.
- Finding Longitude by Richard Dunn and Rebekah Higgitt (Collins, June 2014). Official publication accompanying a National Maritime Museum exhibition on the quest for longitude. My blog post.
- The Times History of the World in Maps (Times Atlases, November 2014). 11×14-inch, 256-page atlas containing original historical maps.
Books About Maps
- London: The Selden Map and the Making of a Global City, 1549-1689 by Robert K. Batchelor (University of Chicago Press, January 2014). Batchelor uses the information on the Selden Map to demonstrate how the city of London “flourished because of its many encounters, engagements, and exchanges with East Asian trading cities.” My blog post.
- The Map Thief by Michael Blanding (Gotham Books, May 2014). A book-length study of Forbes Smiley, the notorious map dealer caught stealing nearly a hundred maps from libraries in the U.S. and Britain. My review.
- Off the Map/Unruly Places by Alastair Bonnett. Short essays on lost and forgotten places around the world. First published as Off the Map: Lost Spaces, Invisible Cities, Forgotten Islands, Feral Places and What They Tell Us About the World (Aurum Press, April 2014) in the U.K., it came out under the title of Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies in Canada (Viking Canada, July 2014) and the United States (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, July 2014). The Guardian has a review.
Map Art and Personal Mapmaking
- Map Art Lab: 52 Exciting Art Explorations in Mapmaking, Imagination, and Travel by Jill K. Berry and Linden McNeilly (Quarry Books, May 2014). A collection of “52 map-related activities set into weekly exercises, beginning with legends and lines, moving through types and styles, and then creating personalized maps that allow you to journey to new worlds.” My blog post.
- Mapping It Out edited by Hans Ulrich Obrist (Thames and Hudson, June 2014). Obrist invited more than a hundred contributors “to create a personal map of their own, in whatever form and showing whatever terrain they choose, whether real-world or imaginary.” My blog post.
- Make Map Art: Creatively Illustrate Your World by Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell (Chronicle Books, February 2014). A “creative toolkit” that includes a booklet and 30 pull-out sheets to use as templates for personal mapmaking projects. My blog post.