The Man Who Mapped the Planet

Book - 2002
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Gerhard Mercator (1512-1594) was born at the dawn of the Age of Discovery, when the world was beginning to be discovered and carved up by navigators, geographers and cartographers. Mercator was the greatest and most ingenious cartographer of them all: it was he who coined the word ¿atlas¿ and solved the riddle of converting the three-dimensional globe into a two-dimensional map while retaining true compass bearings. It is Mercator¿s Projection that NASA are using today to map Mars.

How did Mercator reconcile his religious beliefs with a science that would make Christian maps obsolete? How did a man whose imagination roamed continents endure imprisonment by the Inquisition? Crane brings this great man vividly to life, underlying it with the maps themselves: maps that brought to a rapt public wonders as remarkable as today¿s cyber-world.

Nick Crane's new book is a scintillating account of the climax of the map-makers¿ century (and of Mercator¿s life) - the miraculous compression of the planet which revolutionised navigation and has become the most common worldview we have.

Publisher: London, England : Weidenfeld & Nicolson : 2002
ISBN: 9780297646655
Branch Call Number: 526.98 M534c
Characteristics: 348p illus


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Apr 17, 2017

From a cobbler’s son to a Renaissance man, Gerard Kremer aka Gerard Mercator de Rupelmonde was obsessed with globes, cosmographies, maps and instruments for the span of his lengthy life. This book offers a great biographical piece with related geo, social and political elements that help to put in context how Mercator shaped his life, discoveries and work.

At times, the author goes heavy on digressions, making it difficult to follow on subject’s life. Despite this, the book is enjoyable and opens many other ways for the reader to continue exploring the life and work of this extraordinary man.

Totally recommended as an introduction to modern cartography and to complement any historical and cultural study of the Low Countries.

Jan 10, 2011

I found this to be a fascinating book, but I’d better admit up front that I have a penchant for history and cartography so unless you share these interests this book may not be able to hold your full attention. Crane provides ample detail on the life and time of Gerhard Mercator; he paints a captivating picture of the cultural, political and religious constrictions Mercator worked under. In our times when we can view the world entire via GoogleEarth, one can’t help but marvel at the extraordinary effort it must have taken for Mercator to create his works.
I won’t call this book a “page turner”. Rather I have to admit that I often found myself setting the book aside for a few moments to contemplate on how much I took for granted a body of knowledge that men such as Mercator expended their lifetimes compiling.

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