By Ken Jennings

Record-setting Jeopardy! champion and New York occasions bestselling writer Ken Jennings explores the area of maps and map obsessives, “a literary gem” (The Atlantic) now to be had in paperback.

Ken Jennings takes readers on an international journey of geogeeks from the London Map reasonable to the bowels of the Library of Congress, from the prepubescent geniuses on the nationwide Geographic Bee to the pc programmers at Google Earth. each one bankruptcy delves right into a diverse element of map tradition: highpointing, geocaching, highway atlas rallying, even the “unreal property” charted at the maps of fiction and fable. Jennings additionally considers the ways that cartography has formed our heritage, suggesting that the impulse to make and skim maps is as appropriate at the present time because it has ever been.

From the “Here be dragons” parchment maps of the Age of Discovery to the spinning globes of grade college to the postmodern revolution of electronic maps and GPS, Maphead is choked with fascinating info, enticing anecdotes, and enlightening research. If you’re an inveterate map lover yourself—or whether you’re one of the cartographically clueless who can wander away in a supermarket—let Ken Jennings be your advisor to the unusual global of mapheads.

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The Wrights have been strange merely in that they stored summer time houses of their infantile kingdoms via maturity. essentially the most recognized items of “unreal property” in literary historical past have been, in spite of everything, encouraged by way of children’s maps. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, with its well-known treasure map, might by no means were written if now not for Stevenson’s younger stepson Lloyd, who handed a wet summer season portray watercolor maps together with his stepfather of their Scottish cottage. The place-names they hand-lettered onto the map, like “Skeleton Island” and “Spyglass Hill,” encouraged the occasions of the tale. * And while J. M. Barrie dreamed up Peter Pan’s domestic isle of Neverland, he purposefully imitated the cartography of kids: I don’t comprehend even if you've ever obvious a map of a person’s brain. medical professionals occasionally draw maps of different elements of you, and your individual map can develop into intensely attention-grabbing, yet trap them attempting to draw a map of a child’s brain, which isn't in basic terms careworn, yet retains going around forever. There are zigzag traces on it, similar to your temperature on a card, and those are most likely roads within the island, for the Neverland is often kind of an island, with amazing splashes of color right here and there, and coral reefs and rakish-looking craft within the offing, and savages and lonely lairs, and gnomes who're normally tailors, and caves in which a river runs, and princes with six elder brothers, and a hut quickly going to decay, and one very small previous woman with a hooked nostril. whilst i used to be within the 3rd grade, my pal Gerald and that i have been kings of dual monarchies known as Oofer and Uffer. (I am now seeing these names written down for the 1st time in twenty-five years. ) i will be able to nonetheless photograph the maps we drew: Oofer is in orange crayon, Uffer eco-friendly, and a protracted slim strait of cerulean sea separates them, operating from east to west. yet why did we draw the maps? I haven’t the foggiest inspiration. In hopes of clean my reminiscence, I pay a trip to Benjamin Salman, a Seattle eighth-grader who's, I think, what Austin Tappan Wright should have been like at fourteen. Like Wright, Benjamin is the offspring of proficient mom and dad: his father, Mark, is a live performance pianist, and his mom, Sarah, is, particularly actually, a rocket scientist. (She was once an engineer on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the place she labored at the Voyager probes; now she teaches math at a close-by college. ) Their front room is a pleasantly cluttered house jam-packed with old furnishings, musical tools, stacks of books and nationwide Geographics, and papier-mâché mask held on the partitions. Benjamin is crouched at the wood ground in entrance of me, spreading out a grid of eighteen sheets of typing paper. “This is Augusta, one of many greatest towns in Alambia,” he tells me. “It is a whole, exhaustive map. ” It’s a Thomas consultant of the mind's eye, with hundreds of thousands of nonexistent streets, parks, and companies meticulously laid out and categorised. “But this one”—he starts spreading out a map of his whole continent—“will by no means be entire.

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