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On the Edge: Mapping North America's Coasts

 
 
Author
Roger McCoy.
Publisher Oxford  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.3 x 0.85 inches
ISBN 9780199744046
Pages/Publication Date 251/2012
Daedalus Item Code 60931
This item is not available.
Description
With our access to Google Maps, GPS, and published atlases that show us just what we will encounter when getting from one place to another, we tend to forget that there was a time when the world was unknown and uncharted. Historian Roger McCoy chronicles the captivating, often harrowing story of the 400-year effort to map North America's coasts. Much of the book is based on the narratives of mariners who sought a passage through the continent to Asia and produced maps as a byproduct of their journeys. Here are the dramatic voyages of explorers like John Cabot, John Davis, Captain Cook, Henry Hudson, Martin Frobisher, and John Franklin—who nearly starved to death and become known in England as "the man who ate his boots." The book includes a set of maps drawn to the same projection, showing the progress of mapping the coasts of North America, as well as information on sailing, the life of a sailor, and the importance of maps and narratives to exploration.

"This delightful and engaging historical geography is much more about exploring coasts than mapping them. What McCoy does well is to compile a chronology of several centuries of European mariners' exploits reproduced or imagined by cartographers, and to do so in a single coherent narrative and set of maps of consistent scale to illustrate the accumulation of cartographic knowledge of North American coasts up to the early 20th century. Always driving exploration was a desire to locate a Northwest Passage. The author's maps catalog the rate, extent, and accuracy of coastal exploration and mapping from the slow and awkward early years, when decades might pass before another explorer appeared, to the final intense and dramatic efforts to explore and map Arctic coastlines. The author's writing is crisp, and the book is an accessible, enjoyable read."—Choice

 
 
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