Author(s): Alastair Bonnett
'A fizzingly entertaining and enlightening book' Daily Telegraph
'Mesmerising' Geographical Magazine
'A fascinating delve into uncharted, forgotten lost places. But it's not just a trivia-tastic anthology of remote destinations but a nifty piece of psycho-geography, explaining our human need for these cartographical conundrums.' Wanderlust
In a world of Google Earth, in which it is easy to believe that every discovery has been made and every adventure already had, Off the Map is a stunning testament to how mysterious our planet still is.
From forgotten enclaves to floating islands, from hidden villages to New York gutter spaces, Off the Map charts the hidden corners of our planet. And while these are not necessarily places you would choose to visit on holiday - Hobyo, the pirate capital of Somalia, or Zheleznogorsk, a secret military town in Russia - they each carry a story about the strangeness of place and our need for a geography that understands our hunger for the fantastic and the unexpected.
But it also shows us that topophilia, the love of place, is a fundamental part of what it is to be human. Whether you are an urban explorer or an armchair traveller, Off the Map will inspire and enchant. You'll never look at a map in quite the same way again.
A traffic island in Newcastle, a nuclear wasteland in Eastern Europe, a dance party in Spain, a fox hole on a London common. These are all lost spaces, "inscrutable geographies", places Google Maps doesn't always show, but they draw us in, enchant and fascinate us. Social Geographer Bonnett has collected these places, including the underground cities of Cappadocia, Sandy Island (on maps for centuries but which never actually existed), the enclaves within enclaves on the India-Bangladesh border, fraught with political upheaval, and ephemeral places like the LAX parking lot, home to transient air crew and pilots. How do places like this impact upon us as humans, and why are we so attracted to spaces on the edge of geography? A totally enthralling collection for anyone who loves atlases and maps as much as I do. - Lucy
'An absorbing book packed with remarkable facts... a joy to read' Daily Mail 'Alastair Bonnett's high-speed world tour of places and non-places whose stories would bring the most somnolent class to life. Bonnett zooms effortlessly around far-off spots - sometimes in person, more often via the internet - but he does not ignore those closer to home. Fizzingly entertaining and enlightening book.' -- Tom Fort Daily Telegraph 'A mesmerising study of ambiguous temporary places.' Geographical Magazine 'Fearlessly explores the dark side of humanity while constantly challenging our conceptions of place, borders and boundaries, and how we as humans use locations and geography to define ourselves and the world around us. Importantly, Bonnett's careful research and fascinating theories are complemented with passages of wonderfully written prose. A thought provoking triumph.' -- James Reader The Great Outdoors "A fascinating delve into uncharted, forgotten and lost places. But it's not just a trivia-tastic anthology of remote destinations but a nifty piece of psycho-geography, explaining our human need for these cartographical conundrums." Wanderlust "Bonnett dares us to rethink exploration in a world that has been fully charted, taking us from micronation Sealand - a forsaken sea fort claimed by a Brit as his own sovereign nation - to Arne, a Second World War decoy city that saved thousands of lives. Forty-seven fascinating essays prove why "our topophilia can never be extinguished or sated" and how these locations over insights into our history and society." Monocle
ALASTAIR BONNETT is Professor of Social Geography at Newcastle University. Previous books include What is Geography? (Sage, 2008) and How to Argue (Pearson, 2001). He has also contributed to history and current affairs magazines on a wide variety of topics, such as world population and radical nostalgia. Alastair was editor of the avant-garde, psychogeographical, magazine Transgressions: A Journal of Urban Exploration between 1994-2000. He was also involved for many years in situationist and anarchist politics. His latest research projects are about memories of the city and themes of loss and yearning in modern politics.