How to Lie with Maps
by Mark Monmonier
University of Chicago Press, 1996
Cloth: 978-0-226-53420-6 | Paper: 978-0-226-53421-3 | Electronic: 978-0-226-02900-9
ABOUT THIS BOOKAUTHOR BIOGRAPHYTABLE OF CONTENTS

ABOUT THIS BOOK

Originally published to wide acclaim, this lively, cleverly illustrated essay on the use and abuse of maps teaches us how to evaluate maps critically and promotes a healthy skepticism about these easy-to-manipulate models of reality. Monmonier shows that, despite their immense value, maps lie. In fact, they must.

The second edition is updated with the addition of two new chapters, 10 color plates, and a new foreword by renowned geographer H. J. de Blij. One new chapter examines the role of national interest and cultural values in national mapping organizations, including the United States Geological Survey, while the other explores the new breed of multimedia, computer-based maps.

To show how maps distort, Monmonier introduces basic principles of mapmaking, gives entertaining examples of the misuse of maps in situations from zoning disputes to census reports, and covers all the typical kinds of distortions from deliberate oversimplifications to the misleading use of color.

"Professor Monmonier himself knows how to gain our attention; it is not in fact the lies in maps but their truth, if always approximate and incomplete, that he wants us to admire and use, even to draw for ourselves on the facile screen. His is an artful and funny book, which like any good map, packs plenty in little space."—Scientific American

"A useful guide to a subject most people probably take too much for granted. It shows how map makers translate abstract data into eye-catching cartograms, as they are called. It combats cartographic illiteracy. It fights cartophobia. It may even teach you to find your way. For that alone, it seems worthwhile."—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

". . . witty examination of how and why maps lie. [The book] conveys an important message about how statistics of any kind can be manipulated. But it also communicates much of the challenge, aesthetic appeal, and sheer fun of maps. Even those who hated geography in grammar school might well find a new enthusiasm for the subject after reading Monmonier's lively and surprising book."—Wilson Library Bulletin

"A reading of this book will leave you much better defended against cheap atlases, shoddy journalism, unscrupulous advertisers, predatory special-interest groups, and others who may use or abuse maps at your expense."—John Van Pelt, Christian Science Monitor

"Monmonier meets his goal admirably. . . . [His] book should be put on every map user's 'must read' list. It is informative and readable . . . a big step forward in helping us to understand how maps can mislead their readers."—Jeffrey S. Murray, Canadian Geographic

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Mark Monmonier is distinguished professor of geography at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Foreword

Acknowledgments

1. Introduction

2. Elements of the Map

3. Map Generalization: Little White Lies and Lots of Them

4. Blunders That Mislead

5. Maps That Advertise

6. Development Maps (or, How to Seduce the Town Board)

7. Maps for Political Propaganda

8. Maps, Defense, and Disinformation: Fool Thine Enemy

9. Large-Scale Mapping, Culture, and the National Interest

10. Data Maps: Making Nonsense of the Census

11. Color: Attraction and Distraction

12. Multimedia, Experiential Maps, and Graphic Scripts

13. Epilogue

Appendix: Latitude and Longitude

Selected Readings for Further Exploration

Sources of Illustrations

Index