Atlaseum
Atlases

Look at the world

1944
Richard Edes Harrison
Alfred A. Knopf

Full title

Look at the World - The Fortune Atlas for World Strategy

Air-age globalism was a discursive phenomenon throughout the development of World War II that accounted for the rapid “shrinking” of the world throughair technologies and the internationalization of American interests. Cartography became air-age globalism’s primary popular expression, and journalistic cartographers such as Richard Edes Harrison at Fortune magazine introduced new mapping projections and perspectives in response to the global changes. This essay argues that Harrison’s mapping innovations mediate ageopolitical shift in America toward a modern, image-based internationalism.Through recastings of “vision” and “strategy,” Harrison’s work offers an opportunity to assess the rhetorical tensions between idealism and realism in midcentury cartographic forms and the larger spatial and perceptual challenges facing U.S. foreign policy during its rise to superpower status.

Published at the height of America's participation in the Second World War, this atlas strove to give its readers a unique perspective on current geopolitics and military campaigns by reorienting its maps in novel ways. Nations and continents are subject to multiple perspectives: one can see Europe from the Soviet Union's perspective, looking east to west; North America from "over the top" of the North Pole; Japan from the northeast approach (Alaska and the Aleutians) as well as the southeast (the direction which the island-hopping campaign followed). The curvature of the earth is always visible; mountains and valleys rise and fall in the foreground and on the horizon; and each map is itself a beautiful illustration. This atlas is a wonderful piece of history, an elegant piece of art, and an education in perspective and cartography in its own right. It enables the reader to quite easily follow the imperative, "Look at the world!"

Apparently Harrison would make a photograph of a large globe to use as a template for his artwork: this gives his maps the satellite projection, which is my favorite projection. He dispenses with the insipid addiction to north-south-east-west orientations and freely chooses globe rotations for educational & artistic impact. Then he draws and colors. And what colors, what drawings!

Condition

Very good, cover corners bumped

Maps
Width × Height
28.5 × 35.5
cm
Total map area
4.5
m2
Weight
kg
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