Quick Thoughts: “The Island of Lost Maps”

“The Island of Lost Maps” by Miles Harvey

Genre: Adult Non-Fiction

Source: Anastasia!

Summary from Goodreads:

The Island of Lost Maps tells the story of a curious crime spree: the theft of scores of valuable centuries-old maps from some of the most prominent research libraries in the United States and Canada. The perpetrator was Gilbert Joseph Bland, Jr., an enigmatic antiques dealer from South Florida, whose cross-country slash-and-dash operation had gone virtually undetected until he was caught in 1995–and was unmasked as the most prolific American map thief in history. As Miles Harvey unravels the mystery of Bland’s life, he maps out the world of cartography and cartographic crime, weaving together a fascinating story of exploration, craftsmanship, villainy, and the lure of the unknown.


-First and foremost, I’m really not a fan of non fiction. Some can be interesting enough but enough to keep my interest to read the whole thing.

-This book was pretty disappointing. I was hoping it would be more like a true crime book walking through the thief’s steps because that would have been kind of cool. Instead we got the author as a character in his book.

-The book had so much other stuff in it, the ‘real’ story got lost. No joke about 40-50% of the book is the author’s ‘journey’ and what happened when he met with someone who crossed paths with the thief once and things like that. There was also tons of history. History about maps. History about map thieves.

-When the author was actually focused and talked about the thief, the story was okay but not enough to redeem it from the other stuff.

Rating 2/5

If you’re into cartography, non fiction, and/or history you might enjoy this.


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