Author’s Note: What would geography be without mysteries to be explored, and maybe, but not always, solved. Let's explore the unknown, a running theme to the books in this series of posts.
In contrast to the rich colors of the previously reviewed “Atlas of the Invisible,” the maps in Judith Schalansky's “Atlas of Remote Islands” are stark, with only four colors. This befits the subtitle, “Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will.” As we dive into the page-pairs of text and map, we start to feel the remoteness of these places.
The descriptions tell the story of these islands, not simply in geographic terms but through the unique stories of their human and nonhuman essence. Schalansky divides the chapters geographically by ocean, from the Arctic, to Atlantic, Indian, Pacific and Antarctic.
The text is dramatic and personal, as when an explorer on Macquarie Island off New Zealand "completely disappears into the field of black and white" (he is eaten by the millions of sea-birds on the island) or when describing the displacement of thousands of people to make way for the British military base on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
The page-pairs of text and maps are compelling. Some are uplifting; others are disturbing. However, before you dive into those, be sure to read the preface, which offers context to the armchair adventures upon which you will set sail... and hopefully return.
Read the other blogs in this series:
- A Geographer’s Review of “The Atlas of Lost Cities: A Travel Guide to Abandoned and Forsaken Destinations”
- You Can’t Get There From Here… Or Anywhere: A Geographer’s Review of “Atlas of Remote Islands”
- The World As We Don't See It: A Geographer’s Review of “Atlas of the Invisible: Maps and Graphics That Will Change How You See The World.”
Check out other Books for Geography Lovers!
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