The Map That Changed the World

The Map That Changed the World

William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology

Large Print - 2001
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Winchester tells the fascinating story of an Oxfordshire blacksmith's orphaned son who discovered an unmistakable pattern in the rocks. From this, William Smith developed the first true geographical map following fossils and rock patterns, earning him a place in history as the father of modern geology. Line drawings. Maps throughout, 2 in color. Copyright © Libri GmbH. All rights reserved.
Publisher: Rockland, MA : Wheeler Pub., c2001
Characteristics: xxiii, 439 p. (large print) : ill., maps ; 24 cm
ISBN: 1587241536
Call Number: LP 550.92 WINCHESTER


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May 23, 2016

If the history of geology intrigues you then Martin Rudwick's Earth's Deep History is superior to this effort in all respects. Winchester's book suffers two serious defects: he believes in the great men theory of history and argues that William Smith is one, though his text undermines his argument; and, more perniciously, Winchester asserts that religion was dead set against geological inquiry, which was simply not the case. One can easily cheery pick some outrageous comments in support of such a thesis, but Rudwick's account puts the lie to this tired stereotype.

Aug 19, 2015

Yes, alternate formats!! I'm a fan of this writer. His extensive researches, often diverges from subjects like Bryson, but I always find him interesting. I've learned a lot from his books.

Mar 30, 2015

An entertaining and brisk-paced history/ biography... among the best aspects are the bottom of page footnotes, which include interesting digressions on numerous things, including Korean mythology.

Apr 21, 2013

Interesting and worthwhile topic, but perhaps over-developed: more detail than necessary.

Jun 25, 2012

Simon Winchester is an incredibly prolific writer, considering how thoroughly researched all his books are. Well, this one is about his own field, geology, but still, he had to wade through all the (not easily attainable) material about William Smith, the undeservedly forgotten genius mapmaker. Kudos to Winchester for drawing attention to this remarkable man in his easy conversational style (although I must say that the book could have done with a little trimming here and there).

May 28, 2012


Aug 09, 2011

Simon Winchester is a gifted writer who has entertained us with such books as “The Meaning of Everything...” (the story of the Oxford English Dictionary), and “Atlantic.
In the Map, we are treated to an investigation of one William Smith who overturned to accepted knowledge of geology to develop on an understanding of the science that is still valid today.
As usual, Winchester spins a beguiling tale that entertains and enlightens at the same time. “The Map…” takes a subject that could be vary arid in the hands of another writer and makes the book a pleasure to read.

Mar 26, 2010

I found the author to have a simplistic writing style that I did not particularly care for. I was looking for something with more depth, and this was not it.


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