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Publisher's Summary

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 listeners 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.
©2011 Ken Jennings (P)2011 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"[Jennings is] alive to the larger meaning of maps as they overlay knowledge, desire, and aspiration onto the mute reality of terrain. The result is a delightful mix of lore and reportage that illuminates the longing to know where we are." (Publishers Weekly Starred Review)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Lynn on 01-27-12

A Romp through Maps

I approached Ken Jennings’ new book, Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks, without expectations. I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. In autobiographical chapters he tells of his early interest in maps and considers the type of people who are drawn to maps (pardon the pun). Jennings spends some time telling the reader about the rarified world of map collectors and of the national geography competition entertained by high school students across the country. The more interesting sections to me were related to the development of Google Maps and their impact on map making and our conceptualization of the world. He describes Google Maps as a one-to-one representation of the globe and wonders if Google Maps will bring the end to map making as we have known it. Essentially, I found Maphead to be an engaging, entertaining, interesting, and informative romp through everything map related. Kirby Heybone does a grand job of reading the text.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful


By Amazon Customer on 10-15-11

Interesting, engaging, and laugh out loud funny

Even as someone who isn't that into geography, this was something that kept my attention all the way through. Funny anecdotes, interesting ideas and good pacing.

Also, I want to highlight Mr. Heyborne's narration - it really added to the experience. I usually prefer when a book is read by the author, but I can't imagine anyone doing a better job adding life to the text.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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