Maps are a visual record of human endeavor, each with a tale to tell. In their various forms, maps are models of time, diaries of political maneuverings and works of art that provide a unique vision of how the world evolved.
Drawn from the world’s largest cartographic collection, housed in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, “Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations,” by Vincent Virga, has been published by the Library in association with Little, Brown and Company.
Comprising more than 250 maps, “Cartographia” celebrates the work of those who have charted the world from the dawn of civilization to the present. Among the rare gems included in the book are the 1507 Waldseemüller world map, the first to include the designation “America”; Orelius’s “Theatrum Orbis Terrarum” of 1570, considered to be the first modern atlas; rare maps from Africa, Asia and Oceania that challenge traditional Western perspectives; William Faulkner’s hand-drawn 1936 map of the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Miss.; and a map of the human genome.
Vincent Virga is the author of “Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States,” which was a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club.
Virga and co-author Ron Grim will discuss “Cartographia” as part of the Library’s Books & Beyond author series at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23, in the Montpelier Room, located on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. The program, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored jointly by the Center for the Book, the Geography and Map Division and the Publishing Office. For more information, contact the Center for the Book at (202) 707-5221.
“Cartographia: Mapping Civilizations,” a 272-page hardcover book with more than 250 color maps and illustrations, is available for $60 from major bookstores nationwide and from the Library of Congress Sales Shop, Washington, D.C. 20540-4985. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557. Online orders can be placed at www.loc.gov/shop