This monograph gives an overview of the development of cartography from antiquity through to present day. The title describes the content quite well; it is an exciting piece on the search for methods to represent reality on a map, on an attempt to make measurements more precise and to invent instruments to make this possible, on triangulation of near inaccessible areas of mountains, on discoveries of far-away countries and continents, on determining the shape of the Earth, etc. The book is complemented with a large number of illustrations and also by two appendices, the first one on the movement of the Earth and on measures and units, the second one on various projections of the sphere onto the plane that are used in cartography. The mathematical explanations are quite precise for a popular work. In a minimal number of cases they are not very comprehensive or they contain a mistake (for example the explanation of the principle of sextant on page 106 contains several misprints and mistakes, which make it less understandable).

Reviewer:

okal