It's very difficult to footnote a map. I can't think of a way to point to this border or that town and say where I got this information from. For example, in order to compile the series of maps illustrating systems of government, I had to read at least one political history of every country in the world. Because all I wanted to know was whether they had fair elections or frequent coups, I only had to skim the surface. I did not have to read in-depth studies of voting patterns or palace intrigues, but I still had to consult a different source for every country, and there's no easy way to list them all in context.

Naturally, I made heavy use of previous atlases, but I did my best to follow the cartographer's first rule of ethics: "Don't just trace the other guy's map; that's stealing, plain and simple. Do something different." I've always tried to put a unique twist on my maps that none of the others have tried yet.


The ones I have in a big pile beside my desk and therefore use quite frequently:

The atlases I have to go to the library to consult:

Other books I have in a big pile around my desk:

Narrative histories from the library:

Dull reference books I have on hand which are full of Statistics:

Many of my maps make heavy use of statistics, but these too came from a vague variety of sources. The UN has been publishing a statistical yearbook since its inception, although it only includes countries that are organized enough to have a fact-gathering bureacracy. Before that, I've had to scrounge numbers from various almanacs, encyclopedias and chronicles from the first half of this century.

These are the ones I actually own:

War Statistics:

I've set aside a special series of pages for these.

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Last updated May 2000

Copyright © 1999-2000 Matthew White