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The Phantom Atlas


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The Phantom Atlas is a guide to the world not as it is, but as it was imagined to be. It's a world of ghost islands, invisible mountain ranges, mythical civilisations, ship-wrecking beasts, and other fictitious features introduced on maps and atlases through mistakes, misunderstanding, fantasies, and outright lies. This richly illustrated book collects and explores the colourful histories behind a striking range of real antique maps that are all in some way a little too good to be true. Author Edward Brooke-Hitching investigates the places where exploration and mythology meet, using gorgeous atlas images as springboards for tales of the deranged buccaneers, seafaring monks, heroes, swindlers, and other amazing stories behind cartography's greatest phantoms.
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About the Author

Edward Brooke-Hitching is an author, documentary filmmaker, and incurable cartophile. The son of an antiquarian book dealer, he lives in a dusty heap of old maps and books in London.


"This collection of cartographic errors from maps throughout history provides an entertaining glimpse into the spread of misinformation during the age of exploration....Cartophiles will find much to amuse themselves." -Publishers Weekly ""The Phantom Atlas" will prove rewarding for armchair adventurers and nautical historians. For more intrepid souls, it affords an indispensable guide to legendary sites or, just possibly, remote realms waiting to be reclaimed. Don't forget to bring a camera." - The Phantom Atlas "Unreservedly recommended." -The Monocle "In this atlas of the world 'as it was thought to be, ' cartophile Brooke-Hitching documents the persistence of fictitious places-Sandy Island in the eastern Coral Sea, for example, 'existed' a full seven years after the launch of Google Maps. Early ghost places are understandable, explains the author-maps exaggerating the might of God's creation were common in the Middle Ages, for instance, and the dearth of accurate instruments on early ships are another culprit, as sailors often took mirages or clouds as landforms. Maps showing such intentional or accidental slips are apparently legion, and 58 of them, marking well-known "places" such as Atlantis as well as real locations that were mapped incorrectly ("Korea as an Island") are reproduced in color here, with the mistake (or wholesale fabrication) outlined in a few absorbing pages per entry... An intriguing look at how maps can shape our worldview." -Library Journal "The Phantom Atlas is charmingly written, stunningly illustrated, and elegantly presented (kudos to designer Keith Williams). Even if your passport is stamped to a fare-thee-well, this beguiling book will be an eye-opener - one eye for Arimaspi, four for Nisyti. It tempts travelers toward destinations they will never reach." -The Santa Fe New Mexican "What makes Brooke-Hitching's book more than just a collection of oddities is the emphasis on why these errors happen, and how relying on religion at the exclusion of science, or valuing outsider reports ahead of indigenous knowledge, detrimentally impacted centuries of exploring." -Hyperallergic

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