Book reviews – June – Dec 2017

Submitted by Julie Sweetkind-Singer

Maps of Delhi

By Pilar Maria Guerrieri

New Delhi, India: Niyogi Books, 2017

ISBN: 978-93-85285-50-9

Dr. Guerrieri is an Associate Professor of History of Architecture at a partner university of Politecnico di Milano in Delhi.  This coffee table book is the first to lay out the history of Delhi in maps from the early 19th century through the master plan of 2021.  The book starts with an overview chapter and then lists and displays the maps with a short discussion of each followed by numerous enlargements allowing one to view the map in detail.  While Dr. Guerrieri notes that this is not an exhaustive look at the cartographic history of the city, for those interested in Delhi, it is surely indispensable.

Oxford: Mapping the City

By Daniel MacCannell

Edinburgh: Birlinn Ltd., 2016

ISBN: 978-1-78027-400-3

The publisher Birlinn in Scotland, has created a Mapping the City series of which this volume is the latest.  They have also published books on Edinburgh (2014) and Glasgow (2016).  The book, in full color, charts the history of  the city from the 1568 Braun and Hogenberg view in the Civitates Orbis Terrarum to an interactive flood network map dated 2016 that allows people to take action when water levels rise.  In between are many maps showing the history and development of the city over the last 450 years.

A Bengal Atlas

By James Rennell, Edited by Kalyan Rudra

Kolkata, India: Shishu Sahitya Samsad (P.) Ltd., 2016

ISBN: 978-81-7955-261-6

This two volume set is a facsimile edition of the Bengal Atlas published in 1780 by the first Surveyor General of Bengal, James Rennell.  The atlas is in two volumes with the first containing the maps and the second Rennell’s diary, a biography of Rennell, and a lecture delivered by Rennell in 1781 to the Royal Society about the Ganges and Burrampooter Rivers.

Picturing America: the Golden Age of Pictorial Maps

By Stephen J. Hornsby

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-226-38604-1

Pictorial maps seem all the rage at the moment and seem to have become more interesting to map collectors and libraries alike.  This book outlines the history of pictorials.  The chapters are broken down by genre – to amuse, to instruct, place and region, for industry, for war and for Postwar America.  The book includes reproductions of the maps many from the Fair and Parry Collections at the Library of Congress.

The First Mapping of America: the General Survey of British North America

By Alexander Johnson

London: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-78076-442-9

At the conclusion of the Seven Years War, Great Britain’s territorial expanse in North America was greatly increased.  The General Survey of British North America was commissioned in order to understand those new lands.  This book tells the story of that survey and the two men in charge, Samuel Holland and William Gerard De Brahm.

Patents and Cartographic Inventions: A New Perspective for Map History

By Mark Monmonier

Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave, 2017

ISBN: 978-3-319-51039-2

Mark Monmonier has written a book that explores an area of cartographic endeavor not typically studied, that of patents for, what he calls, “a cartographic variant of a better mousetrap.”  He focuses on inventions like streetcar transfers, rural address guides, folding schemes, world map projections, and improvements of the terrestrial globe.  The book is well illustrated and he quotes from the patents themselves, giving one a look at interesting advancements in cartographic products.

Charting the Oceans

By Peter Whitfield

London: British Library, 2017

Peter Whitfield’s book traces the history of the charts created for navigation from the medieval world to the modern.  The four chapters include navigation before charts, the Age of Exploration, Europe’s maritime age, and the last two hundred years.  The book is in full color and lavishly illustrated.