Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Clumsiest People in Europe

Neither of the books in this post are about maps, but they make clever use of maps for their covers.

The Clumsiest People in Europe: Or, Mrs. Mortimer's Bad-Tempered Guide to the Victorian World, edited by Todd Pruzan.

When I first started browsing through this book, I was not convinced that it wasn't all a hoax (not unlike the Flashman Papers). Mrs. Mortimer does not have many good things to say about people she has never met, and places she has never been:

"It would be well if the Germans were more neat and clean, especially the poor ones."

"The Turks are so grave that they look wise. But how can lazy people really be wise?"

"Washington is one of the most desolate cities in the world."


Her outrageous statements seemed to good to be true. Then I did some checking. It appears that Mrs. Favell Lee Mortimer was in fact an author in Victorian England. She was best known for her series of children's books.

But of course, it was not the content of the book that caught my eye, so much as the cover. Click on the image above and look sideways. The countries of Europe have been relabeled with their supposed attributes. Germany is "Unclean", Austria is "Coughing", and Romania is "Robbers". On the plus side, Iceland is "Harmless".

Built for Growth: Expanding Your Business Around the Corner or Across the Globe, by Arthur Rubinfeld.

How to make your business the next Starbucks. I'm sure you need more than a map, pins and some string... but its not a bad start...

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