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Maps, Myths, and Men: The Story of the Vinland Map Paperback – Jul 15 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (June 2 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804749639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804749633
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 699 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #568,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"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
"It is an enjoyable book to read, and the author writes in such an enthusiastic way that the book reads almost like a detective story."—Canadian Journal of History

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa4973c48) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4dd0da0) out of 5 stars The best book so far about Vinland and the Vinland map ! Aug. 2 2004
By Geir Odden - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book gives you the latest updates regarding archaeological findings of Norse artifacts in Canada and Norse objects made of

American resources found in Greenland. It goes through all

Norse references about the Norse way of seeing the world and

suggests that the Norse used American territories for centuries

after Leif Eiriksson's discovery.

The fact that no other pre-Columbian Norse maps of Vinland

exists together with ink studies, oddities in the text on the map and script analyzes suggests that the Vinland map is a 20th

century fake made by a German priest.

If you are interested in the Viking voyages to America this book is a must in your collection and the reference section will

guide you to further interesting material about Vinland.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa48e70b4) out of 5 stars Detecting a Literary Forgery July 13 2006
By Smallchief - Published on
Format: Paperback
Author Seaver is nothing if not thorough. She spends more than 400 pages of text and notes in this book examining the provenance and legitimacy of the famous Vinland map published in 1965 by two institutional giants, Yale University and the British Museum. The authenticity of the map, supposedly drawn in 1440 and showing "Vinland," the Norse discoveries in North America, has long been questioned by scholars. Seaver's account and her detective work in identifying the likely forger of the map is likely to be the definitive account.

Actually, although admiring her work, I spent little time on the long tale of how she determined the Vinland map is a modern-day forgery. More interesting to me was her summary of Norse history in North America which she covered in the first 86 pages. This is an abridgement of the longer account she gave in "The Frozen Echo"

The main question she tackles is one of the most intriguing in history: why did the Norse colonies in Greenland disappear after almost 500 years of existence? A worsening climate, Eskimo attacks, and the failure of the Norse to adjust to the environment of the Arctic have all been cited. To the contrary, Seaver believes that the Greenland colonies failed because the isolated residents united with English cod fishermen and moved on to greener -- and more lucrative -- pastures in Newfoundland about 1500. There's little evidence to back up her opinion, although it is well reasoned. If this idea excites you, read "The Frozen Echo" for a more thorough examination.

Seaver combined the skill of an exhaustive, and sometimes exhausting, scholar with that of a literary detective in writing the book. Its worth your attention.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4c35e34) out of 5 stars The Viking Deception continues Nov. 12 2007
By D. Launderville - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book!!! Ms. Seaver's detective work is wonderful and thoughtful-beyond doubt. But the end of the story? NO! Read the book and then order the NOVA DVD on the same topic: "The Viking Deception" (available from Amazon- completed in 2005 after publication of this book and thus updates the story)...Carbon 14 tests indicate the map is on very old parchment but that parchment that may have been 'treated' prior to being used for the map in 1950, thus the priest as creator is now doubtful. If created in 1950 the 'creator' is again open to investigation and question. Lots of questions, lots of debate--great story.
HASH(0xa4c42654) out of 5 stars Met my expectations: July 5 2013
By A. Gannon - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very scholarly.\, which is exactly want I wanted to see and know. After seeing some shows on TV, it was a good follow-up.