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Konvitz, J., Cartography in France, 1660-1848: Science, Engineering, and Statecraft. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987. ISBN 0-226-45094-5. 25x17cm., xx, 194pp., 28 monochrome figures plus 8 color plates, cloth. (5801 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago, IL 60637, $39.95)

Many aspects of cartography in France are made available, the chapters being: The National Map Survey, Cartography and the State in the Revolutionary Era; Maps of the Seas; Maps of Mountains; Transportation Planning Maps; and Thematic Cartography circa 1700-1850.  Many random, interesting tidbits of information appear, including a brief discussions o Franklin's Gulf Stream chart, and why it is so rare.  It is amusing to learn the difficulties early surveyors faced.  Surveyors sent to the Arctic to determine the length of the degree were attacked by such thick swarms of bloodsucking flies that visibility along their sightline was reduced.  Others working on the French national survey faced hostile, suspicious peasants.  A serious crimp was put in their work when fanatical French anti-clerics pulled down so many church steeples that many areas had to be surveyed from scratch.  There is much information on the Cassinis, Buache, and other of the more scientifically inclined French cartographers.  The book is scholarly and profusely referenced.  Regrettably, the index is not up to snuff, e.g., Desnos is mentioned-on p.113 but not in the index. Still, the book is well written, useful, and authoritative, and is thus highly recommended.

David C. Jolly, 1988
 

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