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Scotland: Mapping the Islands
by Christopher Fleet, Margaret Wilkes, and Charles Withers

Scotland: Mapping the Islands book cover The story of Scotland’s islands seen through maps is the subject of a new book published by Birlinn in association with the National Library of Scotland.

Scotland: Mapping the Islands is the first book to take the maps of Scotland’s islands as its central focus. The book reproduces some of the most stunning and historically significant maps from the National Library of Scotland collections. Through these, it shows how island life has been realised and represented through the art, artifice and authority of maps.

Scotland: Mapping the Islands is a collaborative work by Christopher Fleet, Margaret Wilkes, and Charles Withers, the three authors of the award-winning Scotland: Mapping the Nation (2011).

Arranged thematically, the book covers topics such as population, place-names, defence, improvement, the exploitation of natural resources, navigation, and leisure and tourism. It presents the rich and diverse story of Scottish islands in a unique and imaginative way, from the earliest maps to the most up-to-date techniques of digital mapping.

Professor Charles Withers, Geographer Royal for Scotland, and one of the book's co-authors said, “Our concern is with the mapping behind the maps; that is, with all the technical, political, institutional and artistic processes by which Scotland's islands have been at various times and in various ways made real in map form. Scotland's islands have been powerfully shaped, on paper and in the imagination, by being represented on maps, and we hope that our book will give Scottish islands the attention they deserve and properly recognise their role in shaping the history and present state of Scotland itself.”

Christopher Fleet, Map Curator at the National Library of Scotland, said, “This book showcases some 160 maps as full colour plates, each selected for the particular stories and insights they give into Scotland's islands over time. By looking at who made these maps, why they made them, and who they made them for, we hope to know how maps both reflect and drive important processes in the history of Scotland's islands.”

Scotland: Mapping the islands
Authors: Christopher Fleet, Margaret Wilkes, and Charles W.J. Withers
Published by Birlinn, in association with the National Library of Scotland
Publication date: October 2016
ISBN: 9781780273518

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