For Mike Parker, maps have been an obsession since childhood. He was the author of "Map Addict" - a book I finished reading on Thursday. I was drawn to it because I am also a lover of maps and possess many of them.
As well as being informative, the book was at times provocative and funny. Mike Parker's map passion comes over loud and clear. He sings the praises of Britain's Ordnance Survey which continues to produce what he believes to be simply the world's best maps. Incidentally, without them I would not have explored half the areas I have rambled in. The detail and clarity is incredible.
He considers the history of maps and how they have always figured in religious expansion and military adventures. He also reflects upon the difficult relationships that the majority of women have with maps.
I laughed out loud when Mike Parker vented his antipathy towards satnav devices. I quote:-
I despise satnavs. I tried hard not to because I didn't want to mark myself quite so obviously as a crusty old Luddite, but my God, they really are a loathsome invention. When I go in friends' cars, and they reach to turn on the satnav, it takes every shred of self-control not to rip the thing out of their hands and beat them to a bloody pulp with a road atlas. (page 279)
If you don't like maps, I doubt that this book would be for you but if you are also a bit of a map addict then I suspect you could, like me, happily while away a good few hours turning the three hundred + pages. It has a British bias but also considers mapping in several other countries. An appealing, idiosyncratic style of writing as perhaps suggested in the satnav quote.
|Derbyshire countryside I walked through yesterday. The green |
lines on the Ordnance Survey map are public footpaths and the
red line is an A road. The black lines define field boundaries.