Around Switzerland in 80 Maps
October 5, 2015, 10 Comments
My new book is bigger and brighter, and also a remarkable journey through time and space. This magical history tour illuminates the past and the present using maps as the guide. A map can be decorative or informative, or both; it can reveal geography or history, or both. In fact, it is the perfect pictorial way to explain and entertain. Together, the maps in the book achieve both while giving a detailed picture of Switzerland.
The 80 maps are contemporary to the eras they portray, rather than drawn for the book. Each has been chosen for a particular reason, be that an important moment in Swiss history or an interesting aspect of Swiss life. Or because it’s simply beautiful. Through these maps we chart the development of Switzerland over the centuries.
Hand-painted or computer-generated, medieval or modern, city or country, all the maps have one thing in common: Switzerland. But it isn’t a book with 80 maps of Switzerland, as many of them don’t cover the whole country; it also isn’t a book of 80 Swiss maps, though most are Swiss in origin.
The book is divided into thematic sections, with the maps appearing in chronological order within each. The first, Borders & Lands, is a collection of 12 historic maps covering almost four centuries of Swiss history. Starting with the oldest existing map of Switzerland (shown left), drawn in 1479, they chart the growth of the Alpine republic and its changing borders.
Town & Country looks at the regions and cities of Switzerland in more detail, with 15 maps of different scales and sizes covering every corner of the country. Switzerland may have been neutral for ages but fighting has constantly swirled in and around it. The nine maps in War & Peace show that the country has been both a battlefield and a safe haven over the past three centuries.
The largest section is Transport &Tourism, with 21 maps tracing the development of Switzerland’s famous transport system, from the first railways to a men’s map of Zurich that is much more revealing than most. People & Power looks at aspects of life in modern Switzerland that don’t often appear in cartographic form. Fourteen maps about famous Swiss products, and the Swiss people themselves, in terms of births and deaths or votes and voices. And cows, of course.
In Fantasy Switzerland eight curious maps deal with things that didn’t happen, or give alternative views of the country. The medieval city that was never built or even a Greater Switzerland with 40 cantons. The 80th and last map is a spectacular view of Switzerland from space, the only map in the book not created by a human hand even if the method of capturing it was.
The book is published in Switzerland in three different languages editions – English, German and French – and can be found in any good bookshop in Switzerland. It can also be ordered online, either direct from the publishers or via internet bookshops:
- German edition direct from the publisher: Hier und Jetzt
- English edition direct from the publisher: Helvetiq
- French edition direct from the publisher (Helvetiq) or also payot.ch
- All editions available from buch.ch, the online shop for Thalia Orell Füssli Stauffacher in Switzerland
- in the UK, you can order the English edition from Stanfords