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234 × 156 × 14 mm
192 pages
60 illustrations, 20 in colour
01 Sep 2000
Picturing History
  • £16.95

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Maps and Politics Jeremy Black

We all rely on the apparent accuracy and objectivity of maps, but often do not see the very process of mapping as political. Are the power and purpose of maps inherently political? Maps and Politics addresses this important question and seeks to emphasize that the apparent ‘objectivity’ of the map-making and map-using process cannot be divorced from aspects of the politics of representation.

Maps have played, and continue to play, a major role in both international and domestic politics. They show how visual geographical representations can be made to reflect and advance political agendas in powerful ways. The major developments in this field over the last century are responses both to cartographic progression and to a greater emphasis on graphic imagery in societies affected by politicization, democratization, and consumer and cultural shifts. Jeremy Black asks whether bias-free cartography is possible and demonstrates that maps are not straight-forward visual texts, but contain political and politicizing subtexts that need to be read with care.

‘Reaktion Books has been producing . . . closely argued and beautifully printed interrogations of the painting, the photograph, and the map. Black brings cartography within this archaeology, exploring in a series of telling and engaging anecdotes the hidden purposes and aesthetics of what seems, on the 2D surface, the most objective of represenatations.’ — The Herald, Glasgow

‘. . . examines the technical and interpretative challenges that face cartographers and their ultimate customers . . . excellent’ — The Times Literary Supplement

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Jeremy Black is Professor of History at the University of Exeter. One of Britain’s leading military historians, he has written over eighty books, including: Maps and Politics (Reaktion, 1996), Why Wars Happen (Reaktion, 1998), Britain since the Seventies (Reaktion, 2004), War since 1945 (Reaktion, 2004), Altered States: America since the Sixties (2004), all published by Reaktion.