Atlas of World War II
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 8 Dec 2018
Full Title: Atlas of World War II: History's Greatest Conflict Revealed Through Rare Wartime Maps and New Cartography
Atlas of World War II told the progression of WW2 largely through maps. Without any negative connotation, some of the modern maps featured in this atlas were somewhat mundane; attack vectors, topographical features, major roads and railways were all elements most map lovers had seen over and over again, presented in different colors and scales. That aside, however, there were unique gems in this collection. Among them, a small number of old Japanese maps, some for military use in China and a world map for public consumption, were most interesting; I only wished that they were printed in larger scale for me to see the details. German naval navigation charts of waters off North America were captivating as well. Last but not least, as I looked closely, some of the maps reproduced in this volume actually contained front line notes penciled in by the commanders who used them.
As a side note, I had appreciated the editor's decision to clearly label "Taiwan" alongside of "Formosa". Despite the rampant use of "Formosa" in western literature, Formosa was more of an unofficial nickname, while Taiwan had been the official name on all Chinese maps across the period of Qing (1636-1911), the short-lived Taiwan Democratic State (1895), and Republic of China (1911-Present). Taiwan had also been the official name on Japanese maps during the occupation (1895-1945).
Oversized and handsomely printed in full color, Atlas of World War II was meant to be a fun book to thumb through, and I indeed had enjoyed it thoroughly.
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