Last week lethargy set in, hence not many posts or appearances at your notable blogs, I blame it mostly on easy access to the accursed TV programme Ancient Aliens. It offers no actual proof, merely speculations that are sometimes hilarious and always just plain wrong.
Having wasted upwards of many evenings watching this mess, I decided to read something to cleanse the pallet, Map of a Nation sadly and somewhat surprisingly only added to my lethargy.
I had been excited about this book for what seems like an age, there is something enticing about a the origin of a subject that you hadn’t previously paid much attention too.
To start with the title isn’t really accurate, it is more of a look at Cartography in general and a celebration of the Ordnance Survey map. Not that this is a problem as the subject matter is very comprehensive anyway.
Adapted from a PhD thesis, the book is somewhat understandably heavy on facts which I always like, but the enjoyment I got from the book is tempered by the dryness of it. I did find myself at certain points obsessively counting the pages I had to read because it made me feel better to know that I had actually made some more progress into its pages.
For a book so detailed, I didn’t really get a true sense of how maps were made, but i did feel more enlightened about the subject of cartography on the whole for having read the book. The most fascinating part for this reader though, was the portraits of the people who made these maps and the efforts they went too.
Interestingly for the amount of detailed information, the book finishes before the advent of the 20th century which is disappointing as that era had the most prolific technical achievements of any century and seeing how things such as Global Positioning Satellites helped evolve maps and gave them greater accuracy would have added more appeal and made it more complete.
it should be a fascinating book and it is and yet, also is not, a lot of research has undoubtedly gone into it, there are lots of references in the back of the book, or last third of the book as it is. It easy to read however but it just didn’t grab me. Also the paperback which I have does not do justice to the beautiful maps, it is sometimes difficult to make out individual features but on the whole worth a dip into.