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November 7, 2020 at 8:26 pm #7500Ann DietzGuest
Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks
by Ken Jennings
- Awards: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Travel & Outdoors (2011)
- Author: Ken Jennings
- Format: hardcover, 276 pages
- ISBN: 9781439167175 (1439167176)
- Genres: geography, history, travel, science, maps, cartography, memoir, adult, humor
- Publisher: Scribner
- Release date: September 20, 2011
- Language: english
About The Book
Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks is Ken’s followup to his 2005 best-seller Brainiac. Much as Brainiac offered a behind-the-scenes look at the little-known demimonde of competitive trivia buffs, Maphead finally gives equal time to that other downtrodden underclass: America’s map nerds.
In a world where geography only makes the headlines when college students are (endlessly) discovered to be bad at it, these hardy souls somehow thrive. Some crisscross the map working an endless geographic checklist: visiting all 3,143 U.S. counties, for example, or all 936 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Some pore over million-dollar collections of the rarest maps of the past; others embrace the future by hunting real-world cartographic treasures like “geocaches” or “degree confluences” with GPS device in hand. Some even draw thousands of their own imaginary maps, lovingly detailing worlds that never were.
Ken Jennings was a map nerd from a young age himself, you will not be surprised to learn, even sleeping with a bulky Hammond atlas at the side of his pillow, in lieu of the traditional Teddy bear. As he travels the nation meeting others of his tribe — map librarians, publishers, “roadgeeks,” pint-sized National Geographic Bee prodigies, the computer geniuses behind Google Maps and other geo-technologies — he comes to admire these geographic obsessives. Now that technology and geographic illiteracy are increasingly insulating us from the lay of the land around us, we are going to be needing these people more than ever. Mapheads are the ones who always know exactly where they are — and where everything else is as well.
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