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Snyder, George S., Maps of the Heavens. New York: Abbeville Press, 1984. ISBN 0-89659-456-4. 38x30cm., 148 pp., cloth. (505 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022, $45.00)

This book is distinguished by the high quality of its illustrations.  This work is not intended to be a complete catalog or reference on celestial charts.  Rather, it is enlightened discourse on man's relation to the heavens as reflected by works on paper.  The rare map trade sometimes regards celestial charts as an afterthought, and they are often to be found stuck in with the world maps.  However, as this book shows, celestial charts, while related to terrestrial mapping, transcend earthly constraints and allow the imagination free rein.  Even more than maps, I think, celestial charts combine the functional with the aesthetic, a concept largely forgotten by today's society.  This book skillfully describes the emergence of man's scientific view of the cosmos, his iconography, and his artistic evolution.  The price is reasonable, and the buyer will find this work a treasure to read and enjoy.

David C. Jolly, 1985

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