Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks Review

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks is Ken's followup to his 2005 best-seller Brainiac. Much as Brainiac offered a behind-the-scenes look at the little-known demimonde of competitive trivia buffs, Maphead finally gives equal time to that other downtrodden underclass: America's map nerds.

In a world where geography only makes the headlines when college students are (endlessly) discovered to be bad at it, these hardy souls somehow thrive. Some crisscross the map working an endless geographic checklist: visiting all 3,143 U.S. counties, for example, or all 936 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Some pore over million-dollar collections of the rarest maps of the past; others embrace the future by hunting real-world cartographic treasures like "geocaches" or "degree confluences" with GPS device in hand. Some even draw thousands of their own imaginary maps, lovingly detailing worlds that never were.

Ken Jennings was a map nerd from a young age himself, you will not be surprised to learn, even sleeping with a bulky Hammond atlas at the side of his pillow, in lieu of the traditional Teddy bear. As he travels the nation meeting others of his tribe--map librarians, publishers, "roadgeeks," pint-sized National Geographic Bee prodigies, the computer geniuses behind Google Maps and other geo-technologies--he comes to admire these geographic obsessives. Now that technology and geographic illiteracy are increasingly insulating us from the lay of the land around us, we are going to be needing these people more than ever. Mapheads are the ones who always know exactly where they are--and where everything else is as well.

Title:Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Scott

    Stealing a thought line from the author, Ken Jennings, Jeopardy superstar, if you the type of person who walks into a room with a map hanging on the wall and you immediately head to the map...you must...

  • Sarah

    True story: my husband and I met because of a geography bee. I was the seventh grade Geography Bee champion at our middle school; he was the eighth grade champion. We went head to head for several rou...

  • Jon

    3.5 starsA quick read, similar in format and informality to Ken's inaugural Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs book. All twelve chapter titles include...

  • Riku Sayuj

    It at least got me to look up some stuff on some maps that I am embarrassed to admit I had no clue about. ...

  • David Dort

    Ken Jennings (of Jeopardy fame) delivers a fantastic sampling of the geo-geekdom. From map lovers (where it starts) to geography bees to road geeks, to obsessive travel, to geo cachers to Google Earth...

  • Brendon Schrodinger

    Maphead is a wonderful work revelling in nerdery of the geography-kind. All of those like myself who spent hours as a child poring over atlases, lose afternoons on Google maps or Google Earth and own ...

  • John

    I thought this was great, but I am a bit of a map nerd myself. And by "bit of," I mean I am a humongous map nerd. This is my most frequent tool of procrastination - I sit at the library when I should ...

  • Jules

    As someone who has participated in car rallies, did the semi-obligatory post-college backpacking trip around Europe, and finally relented to using a smartphone mainly for the GPS, I know the allure an...

  • Bandit

    In 2004 Ken Jennings became my hero. An unassuming charming nerd from Utah who absolutely conquered the trivia world via his astonishing 6 month reign on Jeopardy. I picked up Maphead at the library b...

  • Darrenglass

    If a book about maps and the people who love them written by the snarky Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings sounds like the kind of book you would like, then what are you waiting for? Go get this book imme...