Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks

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Simon and Schuster, Sep 20, 2011 - Social Science - 288 pages
4 Reviews
It comes as no surprise that, as a kid, Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings slept with a bulky Hammond world atlas by his pillow every night. Maphead recounts his lifelong love affair with geography and explores why maps have always been so fascinating to him and to fellow enthusiasts everywhere.

Jennings takes readers on a world tour of geogeeks from the London Map Fair to the bowels of the Library of Congress, from the prepubescent geniuses at the National Geographic Bee to the computer programmers at Google Earth. Each chapter delves into a different aspect of map culture: highpointing, geocaching, road atlas rallying, even the “unreal estate” charted on the maps of fiction and fantasy. He also considers the ways in which cartography has shaped our history, suggesting that the impulse to make and read maps is as relevant today as it has ever been.

 

From the “Here be dragons” parchment maps of the Age of Discovery to the spinning globes of grade school to the postmodern revolution of digital maps and GPS, Maphead is filled with intriguing details, engaging anecdotes, and enlightening analysis. If you’re an inveterate map lover yourself—or even if you’re among the cartographically clueless who can get lost in a supermarket—let Ken Jennings be your guide to the strange world of mapheads.
 

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The breadth of this book is really its downfall. While it may be very interesting to someone who doesn't know much about maps and geography, it doesn't touch on anything really new and interesting. Furthermore the humor is terrible. I feel like this book is targeted towards 13 year olds.

Contents

ECCENTRICITY
13
FAULT
32
BENCHMARKS
56
ELEVATION
79
LEGEND
105
RECKONING
122
MEANDER
148
TRANSIT
166
OVEREDGE
186
FRONTIER
212
RELIEF
237
Notes
251
Index
267
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Ken Jennings grew up in Seoul, South Korea, where he became a daily devotee of the quiz show Jeopardy! In 2004, he successfully auditioned for a spot on the show and went on an unprecedented seventy-four game victory streak worth $2.52 million. Jennings’s book Brainiac, about his Jeopardy! adventures, was a critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller, as were his follow-up books Maphead and Because I Said So! Jennings lives outside Seattle with his wife, Mindy, his son, Dylan, his daughter, Caitlin, and a small, excitable dog named Chance.

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