From Publishers Weekly
In a superlative piece of cross-disciplinary detective work, Norwegian independent scholar Seaver deconstructs the machinations, manipulations and odd stroke of genius that have played into the story of the Vinland map. Allegedly dating from 1440 and ostensibly showing extensive medieval Norse exploration of the North American coasts, the map rocketed out of obscurity—"the black hole of provenance"—with the publication of a lavishly illustrated volume entitled The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation
in 1965. The stunning revelation of the map—and the publication of a volume prepared with peculiar secrecy by scholars from top-name institutions—received intense international press coverage, but was greeted with skepticism in many quarters. A meticulous guide, Seaver leads us through the minutiae of ink analysis, handwriting and strangely located wormholes. Her investigation culminates in the doomed Austrian monastery of Stella Matutina, where a brilliant Jesuit cartographer, Josef Fischer (1858–1944), worked on a "jeu d'esprit" that would sabotage Nazi propaganda by "proving" the global reach of the medieval Catholic church while flattering the Nazis' interest in Norse origins. Through his well-intentioned forgery, Fischer set in motion a different kind of legend. Once German soldiers forced their way into Stella Matutina, the gates opened to a world of pilfering, profiteering and eventually marketing blitzkrieg. Illus.
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"In a superlative piece of cross-disciplinary detective work, Norwegian independent scholar Seaver deconstructs the machinations, manipulations, and odd strokes of genius that have played into the story of the Vinland map."—Publishers Weekly
"Seaver has created the definitive portrait of the Vinland Map controversy and has shown us a route home."—Science Magazine
"...a fascinating and very readable investigation..."—Viking Heritage Magazine
"In Maps, Myths, and Men, Kirsten A. Seaver provides a supremely well-researched and documented account of the map's nearly forty-years of public controversy....As well as providing the most detailed account and analysis of the map available, Seaver has also provided a book which allows historians and scholars to reflect more widely on the ways in which personal lives and situations interfere with and inform objective scholarship."—Itinerario
"...the sustained and comprehensive argument presented here is a masterly synthesis that should represent the last word on one of the most contentious debates in modern medieval scholarship."—Speculum