TITLE: The Fourth Part of the World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth and the Epic Story of the Map That Gave America Its Name
SPEAKER: Toby Lester
EVENT DATE: 2009/11/05
RUNNING TIME: 61 minutes
In 1507 Martin Waldessmuller created a map that depicted what was then known as "the fourth part of the world"; the other three parts being Asia, Europe and Africa. One thousand copies were printed but only one remains, discovered by accident in the library of a German castle in 1901. One hundred two years later, the Library of Congress purchased it for $10 million - an unprecedented sum. When Toby Lester heard about the map, he set out on a journey to tell the story of how the map was created and eventually came to the Library of Congress. The result is "The Fourth Part of the World: The Race to the Ends of the Earth and the Epic Story of the Map That Gave America Its Name" (Free Press 2009).
Speaker Biography: Toby Lester is a contributing editor to The Atlantic and has written for the magazine on the sociology of new religions, the attempt to reconstruct ancient Greek music, the struggle to change alphabets in Azerbaijan and the chance harmonies of everyday sounds. His work has also been featured on the radio show "This American Life."
SERIES: Books & Beyond