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23+ teosta 3,102 jäsentä 71 arvostelua 2 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

Miles Harvey began reporting on Gilbert Bland in 1996 for Outside. He spent over a year on the magazine article and three more years on the book. He has worked for UPI, In These Times, and Outside, where he was the book-review columnist. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana näytä lisää (B.S. in Journalism, 1984) and the University of Michigan (M.F.A. in English, 1991), he has had a lifelong fascination with maps. (Bowker Author Biography) näytä vähemmän

Sisältää nimen: Miles Harvey


Tekijän teokset

Associated Works

Ghost Boys (2018) — Kertoja, eräät painokset1,119 kappaletta
Class Act (2020) — Kertoja, eräät painokset615 kappaletta
School Trip (2023) — Kertoja, eräät painokset179 kappaletta

Merkitty avainsanalla




a good book, at its most interesting when not dealing with its main topic.. Gilbert Bland seemed exactly that, not someone who, like orlean's Orchid Thief got caught up in the details of interesting projects and obsessively crossed lines, but a common thief, looking to make an easy buck . His crimes were horrific and started well before his "map " days. All the other people in the book, librarians, dealers, collectors and law enforcement were interesting and well portrayed
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cspiwak | 48 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 6, 2024 |
Slow, wandering text. Interesting story but too much unnecessary filler
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upinmich | 48 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 22, 2024 |
The impetus for this book was a news story about a man, Gilbert Bland, who was caught stealing maps from the Peabody Library in 1995. As it turned out, this was the tip of the iceberg, as he had already hit many other libraries. Miles Harvey became fascinated by the story and tried to learn more about it. This book is the result of his research.

Unfortunately, Harvey was never able to interview Bland to learn more about his life and his motives, because Bland just did not want to talk to anyone. But Harvey does delve deeply into the world of maps. He gives us a detailed history of maps and map making, the recent surge in interest in collecting maps leading to big increases in price, and a history of map theft, which is apparently a very long-standing tradition. As it turns out, maps were often state secrets, heavily guarded, and objects for theft by other countries.

Harvey also looks into the problem of theft from libraries. He spoke to several librarians and saw the damage that had been done to rare and valuable books mutilated by the thief. Since he was never able to speak to Bland, he investigates the public records of the man, tracing his history in the army and previous run-ins with the law. He also spoke to map dealers and collectors, to understand the passion for collecting maps. He interviewed psychologists who have studied the psychology of collecting. And he spoke to the FBI who had recovered a lot of the stolen maps and were attempting to return them to the libraries where they belonged--a difficult task, as it turned out. In the end, Harvey learns more about himself than he does about Bland.

I found this to be a fascinating tale, and the history of maps and map theft was just as fascinating. This book might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I certainly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in maps.
… (lisätietoja)
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atozgrl | 48 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 27, 2023 |
This book caused me to puzzle, once again, about the success of confidence men in gaining large followings. I've read some books that present the psychology behind this, but I remain puzzled at some level.

What this book did well: First, the author did a wonderful job of setting the context of the times during which the events portrayed took place -- a time of P.T. Barnum, pre-Civil-War tensions, relatively few laws, and corruption in both the political and judicial systems. He gave a history of one spin-off of the Mormon religion that I'd never heard of. I was able to see many parallels between then and now.

What he did less well: It is clear that the title character, Mr. Strang, must have had a great deal of charisma in order to attract so many followers, and wives. However, that charisma didn't come through in the was he was portrayed. He just looked silly and/or corrupt. I was left wondering whether he was simply a liar, or whether he was delusional. The book didn't draw any lessons or insights, other than that con men will always be with us.

Entertaining slice of American history. Although we've had our moments, things seem much calmer in Canada.
… (lisätietoja)
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LynnB | 7 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Sep 21, 2023 |



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