2018 Books on Map History

Continuing my post from 2018 New Year’s Day, here’s my (really quite tardy) listing of the academic books on (or closely allied to) map history that appeared in 2018 (even if one did arrive in September 2018 bearing a 2019 date!). These are the books that ended up on my own “map history” shelves, or if their cost was too high on those of the Osher Map Library. I have, with one exception, excluded popular or coffee table books. (I’m planning a future post on that phenomenon.) And, as a final update, I’ve added one or two books here that should have appeared in the list for 2017.

There are perhaps not as many major, innovative studies as there were in 2017, but there were still several books that were especially important to me. For those, I’ve added some annotations after the citation.


Antrim, Zayde. 2018. Mapping the Middle East. London: Reaktion Books.

Barrett, Chris. 2018. Early Modern English Literature and the Poetics of Cartographic Anxiety. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bernstein, David. 2018. How the West Was Drawn: Mapping, Indians, and the Construction of the Trans-Mississippi West. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

A spatial history of the Great Plains in the early nineteenth-century, the region between the Mississippi and the Rockies. A lot of work has been done to temper the old, heroic narratives of the early explorers like Lewis & Clarke and Zebulon Pike, by rescuing the contributions of native peoples. Bernstein now takes this process one step further, to consider the construction of “Indian Country” from within, by native peoples asserting their rights in the face of an expanding U.S., and from without, by the U.S. government and public. No one can write anything about the trans-Mississippi West without first carefully reading and understanding this wonderful study.

Buondelmonti, Cristoforo. 2018. Description of the Aegean & Other Islands, Copied, with Supplemental Material, by Henricus Martellus Germanus: A Facsimile of the Manuscript at the James Ford Bell Library, University of Minnesota. Translated and edited by Evelyn Edson. New York: Italica Press.

Cameron-Ash, Margaret. 2018. Lying for the Admiralty: Captain Cook’s Endeavour Voyage. Dural Delivery Center, N.S.W.: Rosenberg.

Del Castillo, Lina. 2018. Crafting a Republic for the World: Scientific, Geographic, and Historiographic Inventions of Colombia. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

A wonderful study of the place of systematized knowledge in the creation of a new country in the aftermath of the devastating wars of the early nineteenth century. It is a complex and recursive study: inventing a narrative of “colonial legacy,” especially one of inadequate geographical knowledge and land tenure systems, Colombian leaders implemented new surveys and projects to overcome that supposed legacy, only to end up creating a social system reminiscent of colonial Spanish America. An important book that integrates geographical and chorographical mapping within broader intellectual currents in the formation of a new state.

Dorigo, Mario, and Mathieu Franssen. 2018. Brabantia Ducatus: Geschiedenis en cartobibliografie van het hertogdom Brabant tot 1795. Leiden: Brill, Hes & De Graaf.

Goren, Haim, Jutta Faehndrich, and Bruno Schelhaas. 2017. Mapping the Holy Land: The Foundation of a Scientific Cartography of Palestine. London: I. B. Taurus.

Haguet, Lucille, and Catherine Hofmann, eds. 2018. Une carrière de géographe au siècle des Lumières: Jean-Baptiste d’Anville. Oxford: Voltaire Foundation.

This important collection (stemming from a conference in 2012 and other programs in 2010–13 at the BnF relating to d’Anville) provides much new information about one of the most significant geographers of the eighteenth century—second only to Guillaume Delisle in my opinion—but highlights just how much we don’t know about J. B. B. d’Anville, including even a comprehensive bibliography of his engraved and letterpress works!

Hantman, Jeffrey L. 2018. Monacan Millennium: A Collaborative Archaeology and History of a Virginian Indian People. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press.

Not about mapping per se, but Hantman’s extensive analyses of the relationships between the Manacan and Powhatan peoples gives us new insight into John Smith and his map of Virginia (1612).

Horner, Arnold. 2018. Mapping Laois from the 16th to the 21st Century. Dublin: Wordwell in association with Laois County Council.

The history of maps of what was formerly known as Queen’s County, Ireland.

Kaplan, Caren. 2018. Aerial Aftermaths: Wartime from Above. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

An exploration of the history of aerial imagery, from the eighteenth-century balloon to the 21st-century drone, and the interconnections with the tactical needs of the military. I was especially intrigued by her chapter on a period I knew little about except from my undergraduate instructor in photogrammetry who briefly mentioned it: specifically, the largely forgotten history of the British attempt to pacify Iraq, under a League of Nations’ mandate, through an aerial campaign of imagery and bombing.

Koot, Christian J. 2018. A Biography of a Map in Motion: Augustine Herrman’s Chesapeake. New York: New York University Press.

This is an ambitious work, which uses the particular history of one map by a Dutch merchant in the Chesapeake, that would eventually be printed in London in 1673, to contrast English and Dutch attempts to colonize the region, situate the map in in the transatlantic circulation of information and material goods, and explore systems of patronage and commerce in English map publishing. Very useful, especially when read in conjunction with Martin Brückner’s works—esp. “The Ambulatory Map: Commodity, Mobility, and Visualcy in Eighteenth-Century Colonial America,” Winterthur Portfolio 45, nos. 2–3 (2011): 141–60, and The Social Life of Maps in America, 1750–1860 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture, 2017)—and with Mary Pedley’s, The Commerce of Cartography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), for developing a sense of maps as material objects that are interpreted differently by different audiences.

Lois, Carla. 2018. Terrae incognitae: Modos de penset y mapear geografías desconocidas. Buenos Aires: Eudeba.

An important study of the representation of the unknown on geographical mapping, whether through words (“terrae incognitae”) or gaps within the map. Lois discards the usual presumption that each unknown would eventually be filled in as geographical science progresses, to consider unknowns as constructions of knowledge practices that in turn carry meanings that oscillate between the feared and the desired. An English translation is in preparation.

McIlwaine, Catherine. 2018. Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth. Oxford: Bodleian Library.

Included here for its extensive attention to Tolkien’s maps and world building. What can I say: I’m a fan.

Monmonier, Mark. 2018. How to Lie with Maps. 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Monmonier, Mark, Adrienne Lee Atterberry, Kayla Fermin, Gabrielle E. Marzolf, and Madeleine Hamlin. 2018. A Directory of Cartographic Inventors. Syracuse, N.Y.: Bar Scale Press.

Olson, Kory E. 2018. The Cartographic Capital: Mapping Third Republic Paris, 1889–1934. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

Rapoport, Yossef, and Emilie Savage-Smith. 2018. Lost Maps of the Caliphs: Drawing the World in Eleventh-Century Cairo. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Rendgen, Sandra. 2018. The Minard System: The Complete Statistical Graphics of Charles-Joseph Minard from the Collections of the École nationale des ponts et chaussées. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Minard’s map of Napoleon’s marches to and from Moscow, and the destruction of his army, perhaps suffers from over-exposure, thanks to Edward Tufte who isolated it in its original context; I did not know that Minard paired it with a map of Hannibal’s army crossing the Alps. Rendgren gives us a great resource—in full color—of Minard’s entire oeuvre.

Schilder, Günter. 2017. Early Dutch Maritime Cartography: The North Netherland School of Cartography (c. 1580–c. 1620). Leiden: HES & De Graaf.

Schulten, Susan. 2018. A History of America in 100 Maps. Chicago: University of Chicago Press for the British Library.

Schulten wins the prize for the most carefully and laboriously structured book of the year. The book’s format is very much in the new popular style (100 maps in full color each faced with a succinct text), but the selection is far from a scattershot collection of pretty eye-candy or a parade of canonical, “important” maps. Rather, Schulten has assembled a very wide variety of maps, each carrying significant weight in telling a sophisticated socio-political and cultural history of the U.S.A. And, she says something meaningful about each map reproduced! The effort to identify the maps and to write the short texts boggles my mind.

Seegel, Steven. 2018. Map Men: Transnational Lives and Deaths of Geographers in the Making of East Central Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

An incredible collective biography of a small group of five traveling geographers—Albrecht Penck, Eugeniusz Romer, Stepan Rudnts’kyi, Isaiah Bowman, and Count Pál Teleki, transnational Germans all—who all “spoke map” as they crisscrossed Europe and the Atlantic to engage with one another in the first half of the twentieth century. A revisionist work, in terms both of countering the nationalist emphasis in writing the history of geography as a discipline and of exposing the unseemly nature of that discipline that was barely hidden by its thin veneer of science.

Singaravélou, Pierre, and Fabrice Argounès. 2018. Le monde vu d’Asie: Une histoire cartographique. Paris: Seuil.

Smith, Jason W. 2018. To Master the Boundless Sea: The U.S. Navy, the Marine Environment, and the Cartography of Empire. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolinia Press.

Storms, Martijn, Mario Cams, Imre Josef Demhardt, and Ferjan Ormeling, eds. 2019. Mapping Asia: Cartographic Encounters between East and West. Regional Symposium of the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography, 2017. Cham, Switz.: Springer.

Strang, Cameron B. 2018. Frontiers of Science: Imperialism and Natural Knowledge in the Gulf South Borderlands, 1500–1850. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.

Van Duzer, Chet. 2019. Henricus Martellus’s World Map at Yale (c. 1491): Multispectral Imaging, Sources, and Influence. Cham, Switz.: Springer.

Vaughan, Laura. 2018. Mapping Society: The Spatial Dimensions of Social Cartography. London: UCL Press.

Explores in detail the huge array of urban social mapping that we think we know from just a few examples (Snow, Booth). Read Vaughan in conjunction with Pamela Gilbert’s Mapping the Victorian Social Body (Albany: SUNY Press, 2004).