One for the Road: London – A Life in Maps

Let’s close out the month with one final map book selection. London: A Life in Maps, similar to yesterday’s book, is the result of a collaboration between an independent scholar and a major research library. In this case, Peter Whitfield teamed up with the British Library to produce this history of the city through the plans and maps that have represented and shaped it — over 200 maps spanning the last 500 years. The book was released earlier this year, in conjunction with an exhibit at the British Library.

A recent New York Times article highlighted this book, as well as additional cartographic titles that have been published lately. As the author notes in his piece: “Unlike calendars and telephone books, maps combine form, function and fantasy, a potent blend that might explain a recent surge in books on cartography and the continuing effort to humanize the contours of the earth.” We’ve mentioned several of these map books already — a plethora of grids and lines that have directed (or misdirected) explorers, city dwellers and nomads through the years.