A Map That Changed the World: The Tale of William Smith and the Birth of a Science

3.82 avg rating
( 9,726 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780140280395: A Map That Changed the World: The Tale of William Smith and the Birth of a Science

Following the hugely successful hardback, this extraordinary tale of the father of modern geology looks set to be the non fiction paperback for 2002. Hidden behind velvet curtains above a stairway in a house in London's Piccadilly is an enormous and beautiful hand-coloured map - the first geological map of anywhere in the world. Its maker was a farmer's son named William Smith. Born in 1769 his life was beset by troubles: he was imprisoned for debt, turned out of his home, his work was plagiarised, his wife went insane and the scientific establishment shunned him. It was not until 1829, when a Yorkshire aristocrat recognised his genius, that he was returned to London in triumph: The Map That Changed the World is his story.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Once upon a time there lived a man who discovered the secrets of the earth. He traveled far and wide, learning about the world below the surface. After years of toil, he created a great map of the underworld and expected to live happily ever after. But did he? Simon Winchester (The Professor and the Madman) tells the fossil-friendly fairy tale life of William Smith in The Map That Changed the World.

Born to humble parents, Smith was also a child of the Industrial Revolution (the year of his birth, 1769, also saw Josiah Wedgwood open his great factory, Etruria, Richard Arkwright create his first water-powered cotton-spinning frame, and James Watt receive the patent for the first condensing steam engine). While working as surveyor in a coal mine, Smith noticed the abrupt changes in the layers of rock as he was lowered into the depths. He came to understand that the different layers--in part as revealed by the fossils they contained--always appeared in the same order, no matter where they were found. He also realized that geology required a three-dimensional approach. Smith spent the next 20 some years traveling throughout Britain, observing the land, gathering data, and chattering away about his theories to those he met along the way, thus acquiring the nickname "Strata Smith." In 1815 he published his masterpiece: an 8.5- by 6-foot, hand-tinted map revealing "A Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales."

Despite this triumph, Smith's road remained more rocky than smooth. Snubbed by the gentlemanly Geological Society, Smith complained that "the theory of geology is in the possession of one class of men, the practice in another." Indeed, some members of the society went further than mere ostracism--they stole Smith's work. These cartographic plagiarists produced their own map, remarkably similar to Smith's, in 1819. Meanwhile the chronically cash-strapped Smith had been forced to sell his prized fossil collection and was eventually consigned to debtor's prison.

In the end, the villains are foiled, our hero restored, and science triumphs. Winchester clearly relishes his happy ending, and his honey-tinged prose ("that most attractively lovable losterlike Paleozoic arthropod known as the trilobite") injects a lot of life into what seems, on the surface, a rather dry tale. Like Smith, however, Winchester delves into the strata beneath the surface and reveals a remarkable world. --Sunny Delaney

About the Author:

Simon Winchester is an award-winning journalist who now lives in New York. Having reported from all over the world during his 20-year career as a Guardian foreign correspondent, he has also written 13 books, including the highly acclaimed international bestseller The Surgeon of Crowthorne.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Simon Winchester
Published by Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom (2002)
ISBN 10: 0140280391 ISBN 13: 9780140280395
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Following the hugely successful hardback, this extraordinary tale of the father of modern geology looks set to be the non fiction paperback for 2002. Hidden behind velvet curtains above a stairway in a house in London s Piccadilly is an enormous and beautiful hand-coloured map - the first geological map of anywhere in the world. Its maker was a farmer s son named William Smith. Born in 1769 his life was beset by troubles: he was imprisoned for debt, turned out of his home, his work was plagiarised, his wife went insane and the scientific establishment shunned him. It was not until 1829, when a Yorkshire aristocrat recognised his genius, that he was returned to London in triumph: The Map That Changed the World is his story. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780140280395

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 8.30
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Simon Winchester
Published by Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom (2002)
ISBN 10: 0140280391 ISBN 13: 9780140280395
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Following the hugely successful hardback, this extraordinary tale of the father of modern geology looks set to be the non fiction paperback for 2002. Hidden behind velvet curtains above a stairway in a house in London s Piccadilly is an enormous and beautiful hand-coloured map - the first geological map of anywhere in the world. Its maker was a farmer s son named William Smith. Born in 1769 his life was beset by troubles: he was imprisoned for debt, turned out of his home, his work was plagiarised, his wife went insane and the scientific establishment shunned him. It was not until 1829, when a Yorkshire aristocrat recognised his genius, that he was returned to London in triumph: The Map That Changed the World is his story. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780140280395

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 8.69
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Winchester, Simon
Published by Penguin Books, Limited (UK)
ISBN 10: 0140280391 ISBN 13: 9780140280395
New Softcover Quantity Available: 15
Seller
Sunshine Book Store
(Wilmington, DE, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Books, Limited (UK). Book Condition: New. 0140280391 Brand New, Paperback, Choose Expedited shipping for GUARANTEED delivery within 4-5 business days. Standard Delivery within 6-14 business days. We may not ship to PO Box, APO , FPO Address, please contact us. Customer satisfaction guaranteed. Bookseller Inventory # HO_9780140280395

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 8.70
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Winchester, Simon
Published by Penguin Books, Limited (UK)
ISBN 10: 0140280391 ISBN 13: 9780140280395
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 4
Seller
IBestBargains, LLC
(Houston, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Books, Limited (UK). PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0140280391 Brand New Book in Perfect Condition.Fast Shipping with tracking number. Bookseller Inventory # YGDA-MRAKASH-7209

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 5.70
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: £ 3.08
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Simon Winchester
ISBN 10: 0140280391 ISBN 13: 9780140280395
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller
BWB
(Valley Stream, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Book Condition: New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. Bookseller Inventory # 97801402803950000000

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 8.83
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Simon Winchester
ISBN 10: 0140280391 ISBN 13: 9780140280395
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller
US_Superfast_Bookstore
(New Castle, DE, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Brand New Paperback Same Title Author and Edition as listed. Standard Delivery within 6-14 business days ACROSS THE GLOBE. Access code/CD may not provided with these editions. We may ship the books from multiple warehouses across the globe including Asia depending upon the availability of inventory. Printed in English. Bookseller Inventory # RO_9780140280395

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 6.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: £ 2.04
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Simon Winchester
Published by Penguin (2002)
ISBN 10: 0140280391 ISBN 13: 9780140280395
New Paperback Quantity Available: 10
Seller
The Monster Bookshop
(Fleckney, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. BRAND NEW ** SUPER FAST SHIPPING FROM UK WAREHOUSE ** 30 DAY MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000196418

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 9.44
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: £ 0.95
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Winchester, Simon
Published by Penguin Books, Limited (UK)
ISBN 10: 0140280391 ISBN 13: 9780140280395
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 2
Seller
Great Book Deals
(PATIALA, PUNJA, India)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Books, Limited (UK). PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0140280391 Brand New . Delivery in 4-14 Business days. Bookseller Inventory # ARP-9780140280395

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 8.48
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: £ 3.58
From India to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Winchester, Simon
Published by Penguin
ISBN 10: 0140280391 ISBN 13: 9780140280395
New Softcover Quantity Available: 4
Seller
Kennys Bookstore
(Olney, MD, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin. Book Condition: New. 2002. New Ed. Paperback. Hidden behind velvet curtains above a stairway in a house in London's Piccadilly is an enormous and beautiful hand-coloured map - the first geological map of anywhere in the world. Its maker was a farmer's son named William Smith. Born in 1769 his life was beset by troubles. This title tells his story. Num Pages: 352 pages, illustrations, facsimiles, maps, glossary, bibliography, index. BIC Classification: BGH; HBTP; RGV; WNW. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 130 x 24. Weight in Grams: 254. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780140280395

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 12.49
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Winchester, Simon
Published by Penguin (2002)
ISBN 10: 0140280391 ISBN 13: 9780140280395
New Softcover Quantity Available: 4
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin, 2002. Book Condition: New. 2002. New Ed. Paperback. Hidden behind velvet curtains above a stairway in a house in London's Piccadilly is an enormous and beautiful hand-coloured map - the first geological map of anywhere in the world. Its maker was a farmer's son named William Smith. Born in 1769 his life was beset by troubles. This title tells his story. Num Pages: 352 pages, illustrations, facsimiles, maps, glossary, bibliography, index. BIC Classification: BGH; HBTP; RGV; WNW. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 130 x 24. Weight in Grams: 254. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780140280395

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
£ 12.67
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From Ireland to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book