Even though this book arrived just a few days before press time, I have made it the lead review, and with good reason. To some, the title may sound a bit unpromising. A better title might be All Those Neat Things Collectors Love Knowing. While being an authoritative overview of cartography from ancient times, the book covers many specific topics of great interest. There are entire chapters on Mythical Islands, Portolan Charts, Prester John's kingdom, the mythical Terra Australis and Australia, and more. Another chapter deals with the early cartography of the New World, with separate sections on North America, South America, and California as an island. The illustrations are exceptionally fine. There are 73 color illustrations, and more in black-and-white. Among the illustrations of interest are the Piri Re'is map, Münster's New World and Africa, Ramusio's Mexico City, the Purchas/Briggs and Quad North Americas, Zeno's map, and the Ulm Ptolemy and Orontius Finaeus worlds. Also illustrated is the Vinland Map, with a discussion of recent developments concerning its authenticity. It will be remembered from last-year's reviews that the author knows well north Atlantic cartography. One of the concerns about the Vinland map is the great, perhaps anachronistic, accuracy ofits depiction of Greenland. You may be interested to hear what an expert has to say on this point. The most remarkable aspect of this book is the low price. It is worth far more. Buy it!
David C. Jolly, 1991
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