Gerhard Mercator was the greatest and ingenious cartographer, it was he who coined the word 'atlas' and solved the riddle of converting the three-dimensional globe into a two-dimensional map. This book brings this great man to life, underlying it with the maps themselves: maps that brought to a rapt public wonders as remarkable.
Mercator: The Man who Mapped the Planet by Nicholas Crane
Gerhard Mercator (1512-1594) was born at the dawn of the Age of Discovery, when the world was beginning to be discovered and carved up by navigators, geographers and cartographers. Mercator was the greatest and most ingenious cartographer of them all: it was he who coined the word 'atlas' and solved the riddle of converting the three-dimensional globe into a two-dimensional map while retaining true compass bearings. It is Mercator's Projection that NASA is using today to map Mars. How did Mercator reconcile his religious beliefs with a science that would make Christian maps obsolete? How did a man whose imagination roamed continents endure imprisonment by the Inquisition? Crane brings this great man vividly to life, underlying it with the maps themselves: maps that brought to a rapt public wonders as remarkable as today's cyber-world. Nick Crane's new book is a scintillating account of the climax of the map-makers' century (and of Mercator's life) - the miraculous compression of the planet which revolutionised navigation and has become the most common worldview we have.
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Nick did an excellent interview on START THE WEEK (BBC Radio 4) on 24 June and was on NIGHTWAVES (BBC Radio 3) on 28 June. He has also done interviews for OUTLOOK (BBC World Service), SPEAK EASY (One Word Digital Radio), BBC RADIOJERSEY and BBC RADIO SHROPSHIRE. He has written a big piece for the GUARDIANReview section which ran on 29 June and there was a good piece in Bent's Notes in THE BOOKSELLER on the Frankfurt Book Fair in mid-16th century. The reviews we've had so far have been excellent: 'It is a mark of Crane's huge achievement and detailed research that, as well as Mercator the geographer, we have a view of Gerard, a man whose loss of his own father early in life makes him long for family stability and whose humanist beliefs trouble his Catholic conscience....... This rich and rewarding biography of the man who changed theway we look at the world is much more significant and successful work than Crane's TWO DEGREES WEST and stands at the peak of his achievement.'Anthony Sattin, THE SUNDAY TIMES 'In this fine biography, the first of Mercator to be published in English, the geographer and explorer Nicholas Crane not only makes good these gaps in Mercator's reputation, but he also manages to evoke and explain the complex intellectual atmosphere which fostered his genius.'RobertMacfarlane, THE OBSERVER 'Crane's absorbing biography does equal justic to his subject's life, time and scholarly works, which, as one would expect, ranged far beyond the realm of geography.'Michael Kerrigan, THE SCOTSMAN 'A scholarly and detailed account of life in Europe in the Age of Discovery, it is also an imaginative and vivid biography of a devoutly religious man who was a distinguished instrument maker and map engraver. Exquisite colour plates of Mercator and his maps enhance the text of this fascinating book.'THE BOOKSELLER'Nicholas Crane, geographer and adventurer, has written a tour-de-force of historical biography, throwing the life of this little-known genius into brilliant relief.' WATERSTONE'S QUARTERLY 'Nicholas Crane has created a vivid portrait of a thoroughly modern figure. Following on from his Clear Waters Risingand Two Degrees West, it completes an impressive cartographic trilogy.'BrianMorton, SUNDAY HERALD (Glasgow) '..enthusiastic, erudite and scrupulous...' C. Vita-Finzi, TLS 'Crane skillfully sets Mercator's life and work in context...[his] account combines the apparatus of scholarly research with a good eyefor imaginative detail'.David Goldblatt, THE INDEPENDENT 'Crane's job is to engage the reader with this mild-mannered genius, and he does this by colouring in brilliantly the background.'Christopher Somerville, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH'His story of the astonishingly fraught and productive life of Gerhard Mercator is compulsive reading.'Robin Hanbury-Tenison, COUNTRY LIFE 'Mercator's story is fascinating.....his (Nicholas Crane's) book is a good introduction to the father of modern mapmaking.'THE ECONOMIST 'Brilliant biography of a man who gave us a new way of looking at the world.'CHOICE MAGAZINE 'Nicholas Crane's meticulous biography.....a valuable and detailed account of the geographer's life and works.'Vanessa Collingride, LITERARY REVIEW 'Perhaps there is something of the Mercator about Nicholas Crane, for this is a gracefully written, highly readable and painstakingly researched volume'Justin Marozzi, THE FINANCIAL TIMES 'a marvellous, unforgettable book.'Eileen Battersby, THE IRISH TIMES 'Like Mercator's maps, Crane's biography is a fascinating guide.'Robert Matthews, THE NEW SCIENTIST 'Now Nicholas Crane has written a gripping and densely informative biography of Gerard Mercator'Lisa Jardine, THE MAIL ON SUNDAY Still to come are reviews in SUNDAY TELEGRAPH, BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE and THES Events still to come are an RGS lecture on 7 October and the Cheltenham Fes
About Nicholas Crane
Nicholas Crane is a geographer, adventurer and prize-winning writer.
Mercator: The Man who Mapped the Planet by Nicholas Crane
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