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Mercator's time is also interesting as a bridge between feudal times and the emergence of larger nations and the religious strife associated with the reformation. I wouldn't quite use the word hero, but Mercator sought to re-present through empirical data and did not appear to have a political or religious agenda. However, his maps and globes and their representation of what belonged to whom did make him an object of persecution by the Catholic Spaniards in the Netherlands.

He moved to Protestant Germany after that experience to enjoy a humanist atmosphere more tolerant of learning and free thought. I think he is to be admired for the obvious skill as a cartographer, his grand project to map the entire world in an Atlas based on the best available data, and his ability to negotiate the rough political and religious seas through his schooling and vocation. I especially admire that he labored alone for so much of his on a project of such a grand scale the mapping of the Earth. That type of dedication and perseverance to a project that provides such a large benefit to humanity is amazing.

The fact that he labored alone may have been due to his perfectionist tendencies, but still And one last point, people including myself at one point disparage the Mercator projection for its distortions, and the apparent agrandization of the northern hemisphere in relation to the equatorial regions. However, the projection has its merits for being able to plot a straight line on a map and follow that map heading to a destination. Also, you can dislike the distortions on the map, but I think Mercator deserves his due for creating a very useful representation of a sphere onto a sheet of paper.

Not everyone could afford a globe at that time, and wall maps using the Mercator projection could easily be purchased and made into a montage of the known earth. Finally, I think Mercator's interests were cartographic, and not geopolitical. The results of the continued and ubiquitous use of the projection can be argued against in our current time, but I think the creator of the projection is beyond reproach.


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Those who posess a sense of place. It is quite unlike anything else of his I have read. This book is beautifully constructed, it is a a tale which needed to be told, and he has told it very well indeed. Mr Crane clearly enjoyed researching his material, and that joy is infectious. However, I touchingly felt that I could almos Engrossing However, I touchingly felt that I could almost begin to imagine how wonderful it must have felt to him to finish writing it, and to be reunited with his ever understanding wife and three children.

May 30, Amy rated it liked it. The book is mainly focused on the details of Mercator's life like his complete inability to answer letters on time, meet deadlines, or set realistic goals which was interesting, but I would have preferred more explanation of the thing that made him important enough to write a book about. A fascinating and incredibly detailed biography of the man who gave us the Mercator projection — the method still used to reproduce the 3D world on a 2D world-map.

The last two pages of the epilogue tell us more about the projection itself than the whole of the rest of the book.


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  • Although the author often goes off on tangents, offering background information about the latest person involved in Mercator's life and there are many, many people involved , his writing is accessible and the tale irresistible. It took me weeks to read this book, but I always wanted to go back to it. There might not be a lot about Mercator's projection itself, but there is an awful lot about the globes and maps he researched despite remaining in his home region for his entire life as well as his production methods, including his introduction of italic handwriting. Recommended for anyone interested in a comprehensive low-country history of the times as well as those with a love of maps.

    MERCATOR: The Man Who Mapped the Planet

    Aug 09, Linnaea rated it really liked it Shelves: I picked this up from a remainders table for a few bucks, not sure whether it would really be that interesting. And it is initially a bit slow going. It took me 40pgs or so to really get into it. But it ended up being a gripping story.

    Mercator: The Man who Mapped the Planet - Nicholas Crane - Google Книги

    The book if, of course, a biography of Mercator and the story of how he came to create the first ever atlas, and to devise his famous projection. In the process, we get a fascinating look at 16th century academia, and at the burgeoning book publishing industry. In I picked this up from a remainders table for a few bucks, not sure whether it would really be that interesting. In a world of Google Earth, and GPS in cars and cell phones, it's well worth taking the time to appreciate just what a colossal and extraordinary effort went in to creating the first modern maps. Apr 29, Colleen rated it it was amazing.

    While I'm not a great reader of history, and I think this book could do with some judicious editing, I found it a fascinating account of the history and politics of drawing maps. The s in Europe was a turbulent time of great change - Columbus had found the new world and come back, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Catholic Church and Protestantism was on the rise, and the movable type printing press was getting on for a century old. I found it illuminating to see how the changing tim While I'm not a great reader of history, and I think this book could do with some judicious editing, I found it a fascinating account of the history and politics of drawing maps.

    I found it illuminating to see how the changing times were reflected in map making, as in every other aspect of life. A thoroughly interesting read, Crane's Biography of Mercator is meticulously researched and choke-full of details from every aspect of Mercator's life. Unfortunately the depth of detail may make this book difficult for the general reader. Perhaps this book is better suited for those in academia or those with an immense interest in the history of geography. Given all the details of the book, I was disappointed Crane did not write more about Mercator's projection.

    Really, it was only in the epilogu A thoroughly interesting read, Crane's Biography of Mercator is meticulously researched and choke-full of details from every aspect of Mercator's life. Really, it was only in the epilogue that we learn a bit about the projection. I also found the reading challenging at time because sentences often held four, five, even six ideas, leaving little room for one to reflect. Overall, a fascinating read but challenging at times. Mar 09, Filip rated it did not like it. More aptly, the title of this book should have been: One walks away from this book with hardly any idea about Mercator the man.

    Surprising for a book about a famous cartographer, its author displays a cavalier attitude towards place names and geographical precision Church names in Flanders are rendered in French; Danish isles are mentioned by their German names.

    Long pa More aptly, the title of this book should have been: Long paragraphs are dedicated to the description of specific maps; unfortunately they are not the maps shown in the illustrations. Mercator lived in one of the most cosmopolitan regions of the world during very turbulent times.

    It is beyond amazing that this great basic material has led to as bland and boring a biography as this one. Aug 11, Brendan rated it it was amazing. It was a very good read, clear, and well written. Despite a few moments when I thought Crane was going to be overly dramatic with some of Mercators events, he was not, no 'mountains out of mole hills' as he wrote the Map of Mercators life. This was a straight biography, however.

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    But this definitely focused on Mercator and what is known about him and his life. The ver It was a very good read, clear, and well written. But, if anything, I congratulate the author for staying focused, that I still want to know more and am looking for other sources is testament to the work. So, 5 stars for a great biography. Jun 14, Lolla rated it did not like it. I set sail for unknown shores opening this book but floundered within 50 pages.

    Crane seems to delight is showing off his arcane vocabulary and research into glosses on glosses on only tangentially relevant volumes, all of which does nothing to enrich the text, which it might have done inthe hands of a moe deft writer. This book tells you about the grass genus growing in the grey silt base fields below the granite rocks near the sloping hillside beneath the blah blah and apart from interesting s I set sail for unknown shores opening this book but floundered within 50 pages.

    This book tells you about the grass genus growing in the grey silt base fields below the granite rocks near the sloping hillside beneath the blah blah and apart from interesting snippets about Erasmus, does not reveal the personage who undertook this amazing feat half a millenium ago.

    Aug 05, John rated it liked it Shelves: Being immersed throughout my career in the world that Mercator created I started this book with great expectations.


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    Unfortunately, for me, it delved too much into European political squabbles at the expense of telling the story behind that word we take for granted on charts- Mercator. However, for anyone interested in sea going navigation, or Cartography this book is a must. Interesting book, although too detailed in its description of maps and their editions. I would expect more explanations about what maps and cartography were before Mercator and what they are now.

    And a few more math about its projection. Still, I enjoyed the reviving of the Reformation era and the description of the Benelux region of those days. How did a man whose imagination roamed continents endure imprisonment by the Inquisition? Crane brings this great man vividly to life, underlying it with colour illustrations of the maps themselves: A good book that places the cartographer in relation to some of the religious and political questions of his time.

    The reader also gets some insights on Exploration and the book trade of the sixteenth An excellent book about Gerard Mercator, the father of modern map making.

    Why all world maps are wrong

    Or, how do you make a three dimensional globe fit on a two dimensional map. Without his grid system, GIS specialists would Nicholas Crane is an author, geographer, cartographic expert and recipient of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society's Mungo Park Medal in recognition of outstanding contributions to geographical knowledge, and of the Royal Geographical Society's Ness Award for popularising geography and the understanding of Britain.

    He was elected President of the Royal Geographical Society in