How can you know about somewhere you’ve never been? This predicament is at the heart of David Lambert’s superb new book, Mastering the Niger: James MacQueen’s African Geography and the Struggle over Atlantic Slavery. In 1841 the Scottish geographer and proslavery propagandist James MacQueen published A New Map of Africa. MacQueen had never visited the continent.
How the West Was Drawn analyzes the relationship between Native Americans and the creation of maps of the western United States. To set the stage, Bernstein opens with a discussion of a modern controversy about maps, specifically Aaron Carapella’s Map of our Tribal Nations: Our Own Names and Original Locations.