10 books like The Imaginative Landscape of Christopher Columbus

By Valerie Irene Jane Flint,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Imaginative Landscape of Christopher Columbus. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Story of Maps

By Lloyd A. Brown,

Book cover of The Story of Maps

You can certainly find more recent surveys of the history of cartography, but this accessible work, first published in 1949, still stands out as an engaging and enlightening survey of the territory. Lloyd Brown begins his story some 2000 years ago, in Alexandria, Egypt, with the ancient Greeks and Romans, whose geographical ideas came together in the work of Claudius Ptolemy, and he then goes on, in an enjoyable narrative style, to show how scholars and monks and merchants and sailors and scientists all contributed to the art of mapmaking. The first half of the book provides an excellent summary of the kinds of maps that thinkers and travelers would have been familiar with by the time the Age of Discovery got underway.

The Story of Maps

By Lloyd A. Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"An important and scholarly work; bringing together much information available heretofore only in scattered sources … easily readable." — Gerald I. Alexander, F.R.G.S. Cartographer, Map Division, New York Public Library
Early map making was characterized by secrecy. Maps were precious documents, drawn by astrologers and travelers, worn out through use or purposely destroyed. Just as men first mapped the earth indirectly, via the sun and stars, so must the history of maps be approached circuitously, through chronicles, astronomy, Strabo and Ptolemy, seamanship, commerce, politics. From the first determination of latitude 2000 years ago through the dramatic unraveling of longitude 1700…


The Tropics of Empire

By Nicolás Wey Gómez,

Book cover of The Tropics of Empire: Why Columbus Sailed South to the Indies

When the story of Christopher Columbus gets told, it’s typically as a tale of his having sailed west to get quickly to the east. But in this gorgeously produced, exhaustively researched study, Nicolás Wey-Gómez argues that to understand Columbus and his story properly, you have to understand it as a story about voyages to the south. Columbus inherited a powerful set of assumptions about the nature and peoples found in southern latitudes, and it’s those assumptions, Wey-Gómez contends, that allowed Columbus and the many Europeans that followed him to the New World to justify their various colonial enterprises.

The Tropics of Empire

By Nicolás Wey Gómez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A radical revision of the geographical history of the discovery of the Americas that links Columbus's southbound route with colonialism, slavery, and today's divide between the industrialized North and the developing South.

Everyone knows that in 1492 Christopher Columbus sailed west across the Atlantic, seeking a new route to the East. Few note, however, that Columbus's intention was also to sail south, to the tropics. In The Tropics of Empire, Nicolás Wey Gómez rewrites the geographical history of the discovery of the Americas, casting it as part of Europe's reawakening to the natural and human resources of the South. Wey…


Ptolemy’s Geography in the Renaissance

By Zur Shalev, Charles Burnett,

Book cover of Ptolemy’s Geography in the Renaissance

In the first century A.D., the ancient Greek polymath Claudius Ptolemy produced a work known today simply as the Geography. Ptolemy described the world as the Greeks and Romans knew it at the time—and he did so using latitude and longitude. The Geography largely disappeared from view in Europe during the Middle Ages, as did latitude and longitude on maps, but in the early 1400s the humanists of Florence rediscovered and revived the work, in ways that dramatically improved their understanding of the ancient world and their ability to explore and map it in the present. Shalev and Burnett present a set of scholarly essays that trace the history and the influence of the Geography during that momentous century.

Ptolemy’s Geography in the Renaissance

By Zur Shalev, Charles Burnett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ptolemy’s Geography in the Renaissance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The rediscovery of Ptolemy’s Geography has long been hailed as a key moment in the emergence of Renaissance culture, symbolizing a new rational spatiality, and preparing the way for the Age of Discovery. And yet, the process of the Geography’s introduction, integration and impact in western Europe, as the essays in this volume collectively suggest, was more complex and less predictable than has been traditionally assumed. Whereas previously Ptolemy’s maps attracted most scholarly attention, in this volume the textual tradition of the Geography – Ptolemy’s text, added prefaces, annotations and treatises – stand at the centre. Bringing together a wealth…


The History of Cartography, Volume 3

By David Woodward,

Book cover of The History of Cartography, Volume 3: Cartography in the European Renaissance

You won’t be curling up in bed with this two-volume, 2,272-page encyclopedic history of cartography in the European Renaissance—but if you’ve got a passion for maps, or if you want the most comprehensive source of information on the cartography of the period, it’s a delightful and even essential work to consult. The essays are diverse and deeply informative, and the reproductions, including 80 gorgeous color plates, are a treat to spend time with.

The History of Cartography, Volume 3

By David Woodward,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Cartography, Volume 3 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the University of Chicago Press launched the land-mark "History of Cartography" series nearly thirty years ago, founding editors J. B. Harley and David Woodward hoped to create a new basis for map history. They did not, however, anticipate the larger renaissance in map studies that the series would inspire. But as the renown of the series and the comprehensiveness and acuity of the present two-part volume demonstrate, the history of cartography has proven to be unexpectedly fertile ground. "Cartography in the European Renaissance" treats the period from 1450 to 1650, long considered the most important in the history of…


The Historical Atlas of World War II

By Alexander Swanston, Malcolm Swanston,

Book cover of The Historical Atlas of World War II: 170 Maps that Chart the Most Cataclysmic Event in Human History

The maps in this volume are so instructive, and it offers comprehensive information on all fronts of the war. For one lacking in geographical and military strategy knowledge, I count this book as invaluable to my research.

The Historical Atlas of World War II

By Alexander Swanston, Malcolm Swanston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Historical Atlas of World War II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Historical Atlas of World War II examines all the key events of the six-year conflict, with thoroughly researched text accompanied by 170 highly detailed maps. Incredible multimedia profiles of World War II's most significant battles make Historical Atlas of World War II the next best thing to a time machine.

With realistic maps, detailed accounts, and vibrant illustrations, the book transports the reader to famous World War II battles. Using state-of-the-art technology, special microchips translated the contours of two-dimensional maps of battlefields into realistic renderings of actual landscapes. Illustrators then overlaid these maps with all of the information at their…


A History of America in 100 Maps

By Susan Schulten,

Book cover of A History of America in 100 Maps

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.

A History of America in 100 Maps

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…


The Eternal City

By Jessica Maier,

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

This first-rate book, at once scholarly and accessible, is typical of the excellent production value of the University of Chicago Press, which is the major publisher of cartographic studies. Maier offers a fascinating reading of a good choice of maps.

The Eternal City

By Jessica Maier,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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…


Atlas

By Tom Harper,

Book cover of Atlas: A World of Maps from the British Library

Wide-ranging, high-production values, a good balance of maps and text, and excellent value for money. Includes many different types of map not least those of fantasy worlds.

Atlas

By Tom Harper,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The British Library's map collection is the national cartographic collection of Britain and numbers around four million maps dating from 15 CE to 2017 CE. These include road maps drawn for 13th century pilgrims and sea charts for 17th-century pirates. They include the first printed map to show the Americas and the last to show English-controlled Calais. They include the world's biggest and smallest atlases. They include maps for kings and queens, popes, ministers, schoolchildren, soldiers, tourists. There are maps which changed the world. As well as comprehensively showcasing the varied and surprising treasures of the British Library's "banquet of…


Atlas of the Bible

By John Rogerson,

Book cover of Atlas of the Bible

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.

Atlas of the Bible

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…


Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human

By Surekha Davies,

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

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.

Renaissance Ethnography and the Invention of the Human

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…


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