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This extraordinary book contains 13 intriguing stories that are essential to the appreciation of the history of cartography and world exploration. Author Val Ross begins with the story of the Vinland Map forgery and describes the methods used for determining the authenticity of maps. She highlights the lives of King Roger II of Sicily and his sponsorship of Muslim cartographer Al-Idrisi in the 12th century to create a sophisticated map of the world; Cheng Ho of 14th-century China; Prince Henry the Navigator; Gerard Mercator; the Cassini family of 17th-century France; Captain James Cook; Alexander von Humboldt, a 19th-century German naturalist; Lewis and Clark; John Murray, a Canadian who mapped the sea floor in 1872-1874; Pundit Nain Singh, who mapped the forbidden Tibet and Nepal, disguised as a Buddhist pilgrim; Phyllis Pearsall, who started the A-Z map series by mapping the city of London in the 1930s; and the many people who contributed to mapping the earth from the atmosphere.
Ross is skilled at making a potentially dry subject come to life. With beautiful and numerous reproductions of the most important maps in history, this exceptional book is as visually impressive as it is informative.