The Map That Changed the World

Front Cover
HarperCollins, Oct 27, 2009 - History - 368 pages
36 Reviews

In 1793, a canal digger named William Smith made a startling discovery. He found that by tracing the placement of fossils, which he uncovered in his excavations, one could follow layers of rocks as they dipped and rose and fell—clear across England and, indeed, clear across the world—making it possible, for the first time ever, to draw a chart of the hidden underside of the earth. Smith spent twenty-two years piecing together the fragments of this unseen universe to create an epochal and remarkably beautiful hand-painted map. But instead of receiving accolades and honors, he ended up in debtors' prison, the victim of plagiarism, and virtually homeless for ten years more.

The Map That Changed the World is a very human tale of endurance and achievement, of one man's dedication in the face of ruin. With a keen eye and thoughtful detail, Simon Winchester unfolds the poignant sacrifice behind this world-changing discovery.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Dorritt - LibraryThing

The author does a creditable job of creating an entertaining read, given the dearth of historical records and William Smith's largely unexceptional life. Alas (at least for narrative purposes), Smith ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - vguy - LibraryThing

Enjoyable account of the cruelly neglected, even insulted, pioneer of geology. Winchester also enjoys his own exploration of the geological features he explores. i never knew oolite could be so ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of many books, including The Professor and the Madman, The Men Who United the States, The Map That Changed the World, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and Krakatoa, all of which were New York Times bestsellers and appeared on numerous best and notable lists. In 2006 Winchester was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen. He resides in western Massachusetts.

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