Beware the map-mad-man. Grappling with the shifting boundaries and complexity of German, let alone European history, needs maps. I am deeply romantic about maps, and still buy them. Romance aside, they give you an immediate sense of sweeping context, allowing you to navigate better and make more connections, something I find missing in GPS which is more geared to giving directions than context.
But Winder’s wondrous book on Germany shows how too much map-gazing can wreak havoc.
‘Hitler clung to his maps through thick and thin as a means of understanding the world, almost as a form of early computer game, a finger pointing or a gesture across a paper surface meaning the elimination of thousands of lives.’
‘From the German point of view the military misery came from Louis being someone who, like many unattractive people, spends too much time staring at maps.’
Source: Simon Winder, Germania (London, Picador, 2011), p. 103 & 205