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The Map Thief

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Draws on interviews with confessed rare-map thief E. Forbes Smiley to document his experiences with mercenary explorers and mapmak... Lire la suite
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Description

Draws on interviews with confessed rare-map thief E. Forbes Smiley to document his experiences with mercenary explorers and mapmakers, offering insight into the cutthroat map trade while investigating allegations of hundreds of additional thefts.

#8220;THE MAP THIEF is a gripping, suspenseful tale, told by a veteran investigative reporter. And yes, it comes with maps.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
“Blanding tucks great little historical trivia … into his cohesive narrative… an enjoyable exploration of an obscure aspect of history.” – Miami Herald

“Brisk, engaging…Maps project wishful thinking. THE MAP THIEF is a masterful cartography of a man who fell victim to such wishful thinking, destroying his life.”
 – The Boston Globe

“Brain kale...Bizarre, fascinating, and 100 percent true.” – Mental Floss

“Truth is much stranger than fiction…In the normally dry world of cartography, Smiley’s story makes for a riveting read.” – Town & Country

“An enthralling look at a famous case.” – Boston Common

“The best glimpse yet of the social-climbing sneak thief who stole millions of dollars in rare maps from Yale University and other institutions a decade ago.” –New Haven Register

“Blanding delves deep into both Smiley’s world and the history of mapmaking…a fascinating story of ambitions high and low.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Well-researched…A highly readable profile of a narcissist who got in over his head and lost it all.” – Publishers Weekly

“A gripping mix of true crime, cartographic lore and bookish obsession, THE MAP THIEF is a book that map and book lovers will devour, even as they cringe at the crimes described.”
Shelf Awareness

“In this cartographic caper, Michael Blanding slips into the antique map trade and takes a magnifying glass to the mind and motivations of a curious character named E. Forbes Smiley III, a New England polymath with a special talent for taking razors to rare books. The setting and the character belong in a novel, and this engrossing book reads like fiction.” – Nina Burleigh, author of the New York Times bestseller The Fatal Gift of Beauty: The Italian Trials of Amanda Knox
 
"The Map Thief isn´t just a perceptive, meticulously researched portrait of an exceedingly unlikely felon.  It´s also a tribute to the beautiful old maps that inspired his cartographic crimes--and shaped our modern world." – Ken Jennings, author of Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks
 
“Old maps tug powerfully at the imagination, and not always in healthy ways. Nothing makes that clearer than the strange, unsettling case of Forbes Smiley, whose story Michael Blanding has pieced together in captivating detail. This is an unforgettable and cautionary tale, told by an expert investigative reporter who writes with the narrative flair of a novelist. A great read!”
Toby Lester, author of The Fourth Part of the World: An Astonishing Epic of Global Discovery, Imperial Ambition, and the Birth of America
 
“Disgraced map dealer Forbes Smiley once said that he hoped that the stories about his thefts ‘would go away.’ That might be so. But thankfully Michael Blanding decided otherwise, and he tells a powerful story about the nature of crime, greed and art. Smart, suspenseful, and engaging, this book is a fascinating read.” – Ulrich Boser, bestselling author of The Gardner Heist
 
“This is a terrific book. The portrait of Forbes Smiley here is one we rarely get of cultural heritage thieves – complete and even-handed, without being either credulous or vindictive. The Map Thief, aside from being wonderfully readable, is a valuable addition to this area of study.”
 – Travis McDade, author of The Book Thief: The True Crimes of Daniel Spiegelman
 
“Michael Blanding not only tells the spell-binding tale of a clever and obsessed thief, but he also adds to the field of research into people who commit crimes involving rare and precious items.  All the while, Blanding examines the crimes with the acumen of a seasoned investigator and the skill of a talented writer.” – Anthony M. Amore, co-author of Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists

Auteur
Michael Blanding is an author and journalist with more than fifteen years of experience writing long-form narrative and investigative journalism and has written for The Nation, The New Republic, Consumers Digest, and The Boston Globe Magazine. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. 

Résumé
The story of an infamous crime, a revered map dealer with an unsavory secret, and the ruthless subculture that consumed him
 
Maps have long exerted a special fascination on viewers—both as beautiful works of art and as practical tools to navigate the world. But to those who collect them, the map trade can be a cutthroat business, inhabited by quirky and sometimes disreputable characters in search of a finite number of extremely rare objects.
 
Once considered a respectable antiquarian map dealer, E. Forbes Smiley spent years doubling as a map thief —until he was finally arrested slipping maps out of books in the Yale University library. The Map Thief delves into the untold history of this fascinating high-stakes criminal and the inside story of the industry that consumed him.
 
Acclaimed reporter Michael Blanding has interviewed all the key players in this stranger-than-fiction story, and shares the fascinating histories of maps that charted the New World, and how they went from being practical instruments to quirky heirlooms to highly coveted objects. Though pieces of the map theft story have been written before, Blanding is the first reporter to explore the story in full—and had the rare privilege of having access to Smiley himself after he’d gone silent in the wake of his crimes. Moreover, although Smiley swears he has admitted to all of the maps he stole, libraries claim he stole hundreds more—and offer intriguing clues to prove it. Now, through a series of exclusive interviews with Smiley and other key individuals, Blanding teases out an astonishing tale of destruction and redemption.
 
The Map Thief interweaves Smiley’s escapades with the stories of the explorers and mapmakers he knew better than anyone. Tracking a series of thefts as brazen as the art heists in Provenance and a subculture as obsessive as the oenophiles in The Billionaire’s Vinegar, Blanding has pieced together an unforgettable story of high-stakes crime.

Échantillon de lecture
June 8, 2005: E. FORBES SMILEY III couldn’t stop coughing. No matter how much he tried to suppress it, the tickle in the back of his throat kept breaking out into a hacking cough, drawing glances from the patrons sitting around him. The glass fishbowl of a reading room at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University was quiet except for the low hum of the air- conditioning and the clicking of fingers on keyboards, making Smiley painfully aware of the noise he was making. At one point, he pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket to muffle the sound. As he did, an X-Acto knife blade wrapped inside fell softly onto the carpeted floor. He folded the cloth and put it back in his pocket, oblivious to what had just happened.

Smiley was in the Beinecke this morning to study some rare atlases in preparation for the London Map Fair, an annual gathering of hundreds of map collectors who came to the British capital to buy, sell, and trade antiquarian maps. As one of the top dealers in the field, Smiley

hoped to use the event to climb out of the financial hole into which he’d recently sunk. Over the years, he’d become expert at recognizing different versions of the same map from subtle typographical variations, an ability that could translate into thousands of dollars when deployed at the right moment. By refamiliarizing himself with some select maps, he hoped to be ready for any opportunity in London.

So far, the trip hadn’t gone well. The previous night, he’d woken up miserable in a cheap hotel. It wasn’t the kind of place he’d usually stay. He favored luxury hotels, where he could see the look of surprise and interest flit across the faces of people when he let it be known he was a map dealer. He looked the part, too, with graying hair swept back over his ears and a long, oval face ending in a narrow, patrician chin. A pair of silver wire-?framed glasses perched on his nose, and he invariably wore tweed or navy blue blazers. That, along with his Yankee-sounding

name, usually caused people to assume he was from “old money,” an impression Smiley did nothing to correct.

When people thought of Forbes Smiley— as he was universally known by friends, dealers, librarians, and clients— a few words inevitably sprang to mind: gregarious; jolly; larger-?than-?life. He spoke with the resonance of an Italian tenor mangled by a nasally Waspish affectation.

His voice, like Daisy Buchanan’s, was “full of money.” When he made phone calls, he made sure to announce that he was calling “from the Vineyard.” His upper-?crust affectations, however, were tempered by a charming self-?deprecation.

He’d ingratiated himself with many a librarian by inquiring after her spouse or children, and reciprocated with entertaining stories of travels around the world or the progress of the new home he was building on the Vineyard.

Most of all, people thought of his laugh. For years, friends had reveled in Smiley’s laugh, which rolled up out of his belly and wracked his body in a cackle that only increased in volume the longer it went on. It was the kind of laugh that in college had earned him free tickets from theater producers, who sat him in the front row to egg on the audience. And it generally caused

people to excuse the pretension that crept into his voice when he was expounding on any of his obsessions— architecture, New England history, the blues, and, of course, maps. Whether they liked him or not, his colleagues and rivals in the map business had all been seduced by his knowledge, which in certain areas exceeded that of anyone else in the world.

Reprinted by arrangement with Gotham Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Michael Blanding, 2014.

Informations sur le produit

Titre: The Map Thief
Sous-titre: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps
Auteur:
Code EAN: 9781592408177
ISBN: 978-1-59240-817-7
Format: Livre Relié
Editeur: Random House N.Y.
Genre: Politique, société et économie
nombre de pages: 320
Poids: 542g
Taille: H235mm x B153mm x T27mm
Année: 2014

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