An intriguing dissection of how maps, with their pictorial clarity and aura of scientific objectivity, have exerted the power to persuade—and often mislead. Maps have a deceptively simple appearance, partly because the need for readablitiy requires cartographers to limit content, partly because mapmakers may be reflecting their own biases, according to Monmonier (Geography/Syracuse Univ.; How to Lie With Maps, not reviewed, etc.). He begins by recounting how the West German Arno Peters won worldwide media attention in the 1980s by criticizing the commonly used Mercator projection as Eurocentric- -and then proposed a revision that distorted lands to reflect his own leftist views. The story of the 1965 ``Vinland'' map, which purported to prove that Leif Ericson had discovered America several centuries before Columbus, becomes a tale of ethnic sensitivities (Italian-Americans were pressing then to have Columbus Day made a national holiday) and the hoodwinking of a highbrow institution (Yale accepted the map and was embarrassed by the 1974 revelation that it was a fraud). Monmonier equally displays an eye for the pungent detail (e.g., some US maps still feature ethnically insensitive place names such as Chinks Peak and Squaw Tits) and the ability to paint a broad historical context, as in detailing how one British geographer's warning about the importance of controlling ``the Heartland'' of Eastern Europe was ignored by his countrymen, until the Nazi-Soviet Pact proved him right. He also examines how maps have been used to settle boundary disputes between nations and neighbors; to redraw electoral districts to save incumbents' seats or gain power for minorities; to help bureaucrats convince a town to accept an incinerator, landfill, or nuclear waste dump; and, conversely, to protect against environmental catastrophes. A revealing analysis that shows how maps sometimes deserve a place in the unholy triumvirate of lies, damned lies, and statistics. (30 b&w drawings and 15 half-tones)

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 1994

ISBN: 0-8050-2581-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1994

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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