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Shirley, Rodney W.  The Mapping of the World: Early Printed World Maps 1472 - 1700.  London: New Holland (Publishers) Ltd., 1993. ISBN 1-85368-271-3.  13½ x 10 inches.  xlviii, 669 pp.  444 plates, 19 in color.  Cloth with dustjacket.  (Map Collector Publications, 48 High Street, Tring, Herts., HP23 5BH England.  £130 including postage and packing at surface rates.)

This exemplary work was reviewed by David Jolly in 1985, but the appearance of a new edition requires comment.  As Jolly wrote, "to criticize such an admirable effort is a bit like complaining that the Great Pyramid is dusty," and this review should be taken in that light.

During the decade since The Mapping of the World was first published much new information has come to light, and 182 entries are incorporated in the 19 page Corrigenda and Addenda at the beginning of the book.  Subsequent material appears to be unaltered from earlier editions, excepting minor typographical changes.  Presumably, the publisher decided against a complete rewrite for reasons of economy.

Regrettably, the new material is not incorporated in the index, necessitating additional work by readers wishing to look up a map.  Also, the problems noted by Jolly have not been addressed, notably the uncertainty created by a combined rarity/significance table.

Having thus disposed with the picking of nits, this book remains a fine work which is highly recommended.  Collectors without a copy should not hesitate to buy it.  Because of the substantial cost, the decision is more perplexing for owners of earlier editions.  It should be noted that the publisher lacks a North American distributor; consequently, many American map dealers have had difficulty obtaining the book and are not carrying it.  The most convenient method of purchasing it is through The Map Collector above.

Jon K. Rosenthal, 1995
 
 

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