Review for Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks

"It would be nice if Americans knew where a country was before we went to war with them." - Alex Trebek, Jennings' old nemesisI love reading and studying maps. If you ask me about it, I might describe my interest using nebulous phrases such as "geographic relationships" or "sense of place" before degrading further into abstraction. I don't know, I just love it. Maphead by Ken Jennings (of Jeopardy fame) is an exploration of why a certain niche group of people like me love geography so much. That hard-to-describe passion for maps, he reasons, probably extends from an acute intelligence of spatial awareness. Those test questions from high school where you were asked to pick the correct rotated version of some complex shape, excelling at those usually meant being above-average at directional thinking.The world of the geography wonk has many devoted followers: geography trivia, map collectors, the annual National Geographic Bee and the GPS hobby of geocaching to name a few covered in this book. But the subject is also considered second tier according to the mainstream and Jennings gives compelling reasons why this shouldn't be so and makes the case for a stronger geography education.
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