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The Social Life of Maps in America, 1750-1860
Cloth: 978-1-4696-3260-5 ($49.95)
University of North Carolina Press
A Prize-Winning Book
- Fred B. Kniffen Book Award, International Society for Landscape, Place, & Material Culture (2018)
Zooming in and out, charting the careers of mapmakers, map users, and maps themselves, The Social Life of Maps in America sketches a stunning bird’s-eye view of an important medium as well as an intimate geography of commercial society between the Revolution and the Civil War. In Martin Brückner’s skillful hands, ephemeral cultural objects come alive again and help narrate a completely new history of cartography in early America.
Martin Brückner fills two gaping voids in map history by exploring the industrialization of geography in antebellum America from the point of view of map consumers, not map producers. Applying a material culture approach to the maps and to previously untapped archives, Brückner provides a complex narrative of social, technological, and cultural changes that created a distinctly American form of geography. A splendid achievement!
--Matthew H. Edney
Enriched but not constrained by theory, Brückner’s beautifully written study impressively integrates visual, literary, economic, and psychological perspectives to offer fresh interpretations page after page. Scholars interested in the uses of print, whether or not they are early Americanists, need to read this book. They will be rewarded with Brückner’s instructive insights into the meanings of space and spectacle, materiality and memory.
--Joan Shelley Rubin