100 books like Atlas

By Tom Harper,

Here are 100 books that Atlas fans have personally recommended if you like Atlas. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of A History of America in 100 Maps

Jeremy Black Author Of Maps and History: Constructing Images of the Past

From my list on for people who love maps.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian fascinated with maps and geography, I have produced historical atlases on the world, Britain, war, cities, naval history, fortifications, and World War Two, as well as books on geopolitics and maps. I am an Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Exeter and a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and of Policy Exchange.

Jeremy's book list on for people who love maps

Jeremy Black Why did Jeremy love this book?

An excellent example of the British Library’s History … in 100 Maps series, this book, by an expert, on the American geopolitical imagination, combines a first-rate text with instructive maps. Handsomely produced, it is good value.

By Susan Schulten,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A History of America in 100 Maps as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Throughout its history, America has been defined through maps. Whether made for military strategy or urban reform, to encourage settlement or to investigate disease, maps invest information with meaning by translating it into visual form. They capture what people knew, what they thought they knew, what they hoped for, and what they feared. As such they offer unrivaled windows onto the past.
 
In this book Susan Schulten uses maps to explore five centuries of American history, from the voyages of European discovery to the digital age. With stunning visual clarity, A History of America in 100 Maps showcases the power…


Book cover of The Eternal City: A History of Rome in Maps

Georgia Irby Author Of Conceptions of the Watery World in Greco-Roman Antiquity

From my list on how to read maps.

Why am I passionate about this?

I still remember the day I discovered the family atlas (I must have about five; it then lived in my room, and my dad was probably irked, but too kind and encouraging to show it). Since then, I have been mesmerized by maps. How lucky I am to turn an early passion into a focus of research and teaching (I am a Classicist and Historian of Ancient Science). My publications include studies of narrative maps in Greco-Roman literature (they too were mesmerized by maps). You can find maps in the most unexpected places!

Georgia's book list on how to read maps

Georgia Irby Why did Georgia love this book?

In this beautiful book, Maier guides her readers through the parallel development of Rome (imperial city, Holy See, thriving center of art and intellectualism) with the evolution of mapmaking.

I like the clear way that she shows how the changing city helped inform transitions in how and why maps are made. For example, medieval maps of Rome forefront of the city’s five churches, while downplaying other features, and give the cloistered monk (and modern reader) the opportunity to trace an imagined pilgrimage (I spent many childhood hours with the family atlas imagining my own journeys to faraway lands).

Only in the 19th century, when travel for pleasure becomes widespread, do maps of Rome (and elsewhere), advertising their sponsors, become more utilitarian, enabling tourists to find their own ways, and supplying cheap souvenirs. 

By Jessica Maier,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Eternal City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the most visited places in the world, Rome attracts millions of tourists each year to walk its storied streets and see famous sites like the Colosseum, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Trevi Fountain. Yet this ancient city's allure is due as much to its rich, unbroken history as to its extraordinary array of landmarks. Countless incarnations and eras merge in the Roman cityscape. With a history spanning nearly three millennia, no other place can quite match the resilience and reinventions of the aptly nicknamed Eternal City. In this unique and visually engaging book, Jessica Maier considers Rome through…


Book cover of William Birchynshaw's Map of Exeter, 1743

Jeremy Black Author Of Maps and History: Constructing Images of the Past

From my list on for people who love maps.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian fascinated with maps and geography, I have produced historical atlases on the world, Britain, war, cities, naval history, fortifications, and World War Two, as well as books on geopolitics and maps. I am an Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Exeter and a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and of Policy Exchange.

Jeremy's book list on for people who love maps

Jeremy Black Why did Jeremy love this book?

The discovery of hitherto unknown maps is a great treat and this edition uses one to show the development of urban mapping. Well-anchored in the locality, this book is also of much wider value.

By Richard Oliver, Roger Kain, Todd Gray

Why should I read it?

1 author picked William Birchynshaw's Map of Exeter, 1743 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This major re-examination of the history of map-making in Exeter, the historic county town of Devon, follows from the recent discovery of a 'new' Georgian town map of the city. That map, by William Birchynshaw (a man not known tohave produced any other), is reproduced in facsimile, along with nearly two dozen other maps from 1587 through to 1949. They are prefaced by an introduction which places the new discovery within the context of four centuries of map-making, demonstrating how Birchynshaw owed a debt both to John Hooker's map of 1587 and to that by Ichabod Fairlove of 1709; and…


Book cover of Cartography in the Twentieth Century

Jeremy Black Author Of Maps and History: Constructing Images of the Past

From my list on for people who love maps.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian fascinated with maps and geography, I have produced historical atlases on the world, Britain, war, cities, naval history, fortifications, and World War Two, as well as books on geopolitics and maps. I am an Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Exeter and a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and of Policy Exchange.

Jeremy's book list on for people who love maps

Jeremy Black Why did Jeremy love this book?

A blockbuster of a reference work, but also a vital tool for all those interested the history of maps and mapping. Part of a series that is at once majestic, handsome, and full of the detailed knowledge of scholarship.

By Mark Monmonier (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cartography in the Twentieth Century as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For more than thirty years, the History of Cartography Project has charted the course for scholarship on cartography, bringing together research from a variety of disciplines on the creation, dissemination, and use of maps. Volume 6, Cartography in the Twentieth Century, continues this tradition with a groundbreaking survey of the century just ended and a new full-color, encyclopedic format. The twentieth century is a pivotal period in map history. The transition from paper to digital formats led to previously unimaginable dynamic and interactive maps. Geographic information systems radically altered cartographic institutions and reduced the skill required to create maps. Satellite…


Book cover of Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human: New Worlds, Maps and Monsters

Asa Simon Mittman Author Of The Ashgate Research Companion to Monsters and the Monstrous

From my list on explaining the history of monsters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I rewatched Star Wars until I wore out my VHS tape. I read every Dragonlance novel. I played a bit of D&D. When I got to college, I finally was allowed work on things that interested me. I found Art History, dove into Medieval Studies, and, in grad school, got serious about monsters. Monster Studies didn’t exist, but books were out (especially by Jeffrey Jerome Cohen), and my advisor encouraged me to follow my passions. My 15-year-old self would be astonished to learn that I’d get to read monster books, study monster art, and watch monster movies as a job!

Asa's book list on explaining the history of monsters

Asa Simon Mittman Why did Asa love this book?

This is a brilliant, wide-ranging, deeply-sourced study of the dynamics that underpinned and justified early modern colonization of the Americas. Mandeville’s Book of Marvels and Travels is the prehistory of the horrors of colonization; the sources at the heart of Davies’s study are colonization’s architecture: maps, book illustrations, freestanding prints, published texts, letters, journals, and on. With nuance and care, Davies rewrites the intellectual history of this period, confronting the dehumanizing, demonizing, monsterizing visual and textual rhetoric of colonial enterprises (which directly contributed to large-scale violence), but also looking carefully at nuances, differences, and shifts in this rhetoric over the course of the Renaissance.

By Surekha Davies,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Giants, cannibals and other monsters were a regular feature of Renaissance illustrated maps, inhabiting the Americas alongside other indigenous peoples. In a new approach to views of distant peoples, Surekha Davies analyzes this archive alongside prints, costume books and geographical writing. Using sources from Iberia, France, the German lands, the Low Countries, Italy and England, Davies argues that mapmakers and viewers saw these maps as careful syntheses that enabled viewers to compare different peoples. In an age when scholars, missionaries, native peoples and colonial officials debated whether New World inhabitants could - or should - be converted or enslaved, maps…


Book cover of Atlas of the Bible

Jeanne Lyet Gassman Author Of Blood of a Stone

From my list on the life and times in Roman Palestine.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been an avid reader of historical fiction since I was very young, and I love learning about the life and times of different periods of history. One might describe me as a "research junkie." My desire to know more about the everyday lives of my historical characters has taken me on many wonderful adventures, and my personal library is full of books I use for research. I write fiction, creative nonfiction, and novels. I am currently completing a new novel about a family of downwinders, people who contracted cancer from government-sanctioned radioactive fallout from the atomic bomb tests in Nevada during the 1950s and 1960s.

Jeanne's book list on the life and times in Roman Palestine

Jeanne Lyet Gassman Why did Jeanne love this book?

Part of my job when writing historical fiction is to know the "lay of the land." That means understanding regional maps, the geography, the climate, and the flora and fauna of the era and location of my story. I turned to this book so often that some of the pages are falling out. Beautifully illustrated with color photos, maps, and drawings, this book describes the history and main features of twelve main geographical regions in the Holy Land and connects them to major events in the Old and New Testaments. It's an accessible resource that functions more as a cultural atlas than simply as a map atlas.

By John Rogerson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Atlas of the Bible as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first atlas of the Bible to treat its subject geographically rather than historically, this unique work features the main biblical sites, illustrated with photographs and colour maps. The book opens with a description of the Bible, explains how it came to be composed and how it has been transmitted to us through medieval manuscript copies and modern translations. The second section of the text provides an outline of the historical background of the Bible, from the time of Abraham to the close of the New Testament period. The third and principal section discusses the main geographical regions of the…


Book cover of Shakespeare and the Geography of Difference

Andrew Hadfield Author Of Amazons, Savages, and Machiavels: Travel and Colonial Writing in English, 1550-1630: An Anthology

From my list on early English travel writing.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of English at the University of Sussex. I have worked on a wide range of subjects over the years, mainly about the English Renaissance. I have a long-standing interest in travel and colonial writing, the ways in which the English interacted with other peoples and other places, which started with my interest in Ireland where I studied and which was the subject of my early books. I have broadened my perspective as I have read more on the Americas, Africa, Europe, and Asia, over the years and am committed to uncovering the truth of the uncomfortable, challenging, and fascinating history of the early British Empire.

Andrew's book list on early English travel writing

Andrew Hadfield Why did Andrew love this book?

A careful, meticulous, and thoughtful analysis of the ways in which the opening up of the world for English audiences left its mark on the work of the most celebrated author of the period.

Gillies shows how Shakespeare thought about the key areas of the world, in passing as well as when writing directly about specific regions, notably, southern Europe, the Americas, the Mediterranean, France, Italy, and elsewhere.

By John Gillies,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shakespeare and the Geography of Difference as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this engaging book, John Gillies explores Shakespeare's geographic imagination, and discovers an intimate relationship between Renaissance geography and theatre, arising from their shared dependence on the opposing impulses of taboo-laden closure and hubristic expansiveness. Dr Gillies shows that Shakespeare's images of the exotic, the 'barbarous, outlandish or strange', are grounded in concrete historical fact: to be marginalised was not just a matter of social status, but of belonging, quite literally, to the margins of contemporary maps. Through an examination of the icons and emblems of contemporary cartography, Dr Gillies challenges the map-makers' overt intentions, and the attitudes and assumptions…


Book cover of European Regions and Boundaries: A Conceptual History

Caner Tekin Author Of Debating Turkey in Europe: Identities and Concepts

From my list on European identity for history readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a postdoctoral researcher, I'm fascinated by the notions of cultural belonging to Europe and European nation-states, as they have evolved throughout history in relation to what the holders of these notions call their "others". I know of few cases in the field of identity and memory politics that are as controversial, as curious, as fragile, and yet as fascinating as the idea of a Europe, a social and political construct that emerges from past events but is shaped for political purposes. Debates about a common European history and memory are intertwined with those about the geographical and cultural definitions of Europe, and my book list often includes the most recent examples of these interactions.

Caner's book list on European identity for history readers

Caner Tekin Why did Caner love this book?

How have the regions of the continent been imagined and constructed in relation to a European framework? Bringing together contemporary experts such as Stefan Berger, Bo Strath, Stefan Troebst, and Alex-Drace Francis, the editors aim to explore the political, cultural, and intellectual contexts of European regions at the meso level.

They examine conceptualisations in relation to counter-concepts or clusters of concepts (e.g. Western Europe vs. Southern or Southeastern Europe) and relate them to debates on coexistence and the construction of the 'self' versus the 'other'. 

As such, the chapters provide an insightful discussion of the historicity and reflexivity of the spatial terminology of Europe.

By Diana Mishkova (editor), Balazs Trencsenyi (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked European Regions and Boundaries as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is difficult to speak about Europe today without reference to its constitutive regions-supra-national geographical designations such as "Scandinavia," "Eastern Europe," and "the Balkans." Such formulations are so ubiquitous that they are frequently treated as empirical realities rather than a series of shifting, overlapping, and historically constructed concepts. This volume is the first to provide a synthetic account of these concepts and the historical and intellectual contexts in which they emerged. Bringing together prominent international scholars from across multiple disciplines, it systematically and comprehensively explores how such "meso-regions" have been conceptualized throughout modern European history.


Book cover of The Imaginative Landscape of Christopher Columbus

Toby Lester Author Of The Fourth Part of the World: An Astonishing Epic of Global Discovery, Imperial Ambition, and the Birth of America

From my list on geographical ideas behind the age of discovery.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and an editor with eclectic interests. I’ve published two books of popular history—Da Vinci's Ghost (2012), about Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, and The Fourth Part of the World (2009), about the map that gave America its name. I’ve also written extensively for national publications on such topics as the sociology of new religious movements, privacy protection in the Internet age, the Voynich manuscript, the revisionist study of the Qur’an, the revival of ancient Greek music, and alphabet reform in Azerbaijan. I’m presently a senior editor at the Harvard Business Review and a contributing editor at The Atlantic. From 1988-1990, I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Yemen.

Toby's book list on geographical ideas behind the age of discovery

Toby Lester Why did Toby love this book?

This is a lapidary introduction to the stories and ideas that prompted Columbus to sail away from Europe into the Atlantic in search of a direct sea route to Asia—and that determined how he interpreted what he came across after making landfall in the Americas. In just 200 pages, Flint nimbly covers all sorts of material: Christian theories of cosmology and eschatology; medieval conceptions of geography; the travel stories of St. Brendan, Sinbad the Sailor, Sir John Mandeville, and Marco Polo; the books that Columbus read, and the notes he made in them to himself; and more. In doing so, she reanimates a fascinating landscape of the imagination.

By Valerie Irene Jane Flint,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Imaginative Landscape of Christopher Columbus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rather than focusing on the well-rehearsed facts of Columbus's achievements in the New World, Valerie Flint looks instead at his imaginative mental images, the powerful "fantasies" that gave energy to his endeavors in the Renaissance. With him on his voyages into the unknown, he carried medieval notions gleaned from a Mediterranean tradition of tall tales about the sea, from books he had read, and from the mappae-mundi, splendid schematic maps with fantastic inhabitants. After investigating these sources of Columbus's views, Flint explains how the content of his thinking influenced his reports on his discoveries. Finally, she argues that problems besetting…


Book cover of Psychogeography: Disentangling the Modern Conundrum of Psyche and Place

Jim Miller Author Of Drift

From my list on urban wandering and subterranean history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach literature, Labor Studies, and writing at San Diego City College and have written three San Diego-based novels: Drift, Flash, and Last Days in Ocean Beach, along with Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See, a radical history of San Diego that I co-wrote with Mike Davis and Kelly Mayhew. Both as a writer and as a daily wanderer on the streets of San Diego, I have a passion for the psychogeography of the city space and a deep curiosity for and love of the people I encounter there.

Jim's book list on urban wandering and subterranean history

Jim Miller Why did Jim love this book?

I love this classic book that catalogs some of Will Self’s seminal writings about psychogeography, a term that describes the relationship between our consciousness and the geographic spaces we occupy.

Self borrows from the legacy of the avant-garde notions of dérive, or “drift” or disorientation, where one can find oneself by losing oneself. Here, Self playfully positions himself as a rebel against the contemporary world, a time-traveler of sorts, who rolls back the clock and deconstructs history by walking rather than driving in urban contexts.

It’s a book full of surprises and provocative ideas.

By Will Self, Ralph Steadman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Psychogeography as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Provocateurs Will Self and Ralph Steadman join forces in this post-millennial meditation on the vexed relationship between psyche and place in a globalised world, bringing together for the first time the very best of their 'Psychogeography' columns for the Independent. The introduction, 'Walking to New York', is both a prelude to the verbal and visual essays that make up this extraordinary collaboration, and a revealing exploration of the split in Self's Jewish-American-British psyche and its relationship to the political geography of the post-9/11 world. Ranging from the Scottish Highlands to Istanbul and from Morocco to Ohio, Will Self's engaging and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in geography, maps, and cartography?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about geography, maps, and cartography.

Geography Explore 36 books about geography
Maps Explore 20 books about maps
Cartography Explore 31 books about cartography