Longlisted for the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize
Shortlisted for the 2018 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction
Shortlisted for the 2018 Louise de Kiriline Lawrence Award for Nonfiction
The sweeping, epic story of the mysterious land that came to be called “Canada” like it’s never been told before.
Every map tells a story. And every map has a purpose--it invites us to go somewhere we've never been. It’s an account of what we know, but also a trace of what we long for.
Ten Maps conjures the world as it appeared to those who were called upon to map it. What would the new world look like to wandering Vikings, who thought they had drifted into a land of mythical creatures, or Samuel de Champlain, who had no idea of the vastness of the landmass just beyond the treeline?
Adam Shoalts, one of Canada’s foremost explorers, tells the stories behind these centuries old maps, and how they came to shape what became “Canada.”
It’s a story that will surprise readers, and reveal the Canada we never knew was hidden. It brings to life the characters and the bloody disputes that forged our history, by showing us what the world looked like before it entered the history books. Combining storytelling, cartography, geography, archaeology and of course history, this book shows us Canada in a way we've never seen it before.
Adam Shoalts has been called one of Canada’s greatest living explorers and in 2017 completed a nearly 4,000 km solo journey across Canada’s arctic. He’s also an historian, archaeologist, and geographer. Shoalts’ doctoral research at McMaster University examined the influence indigenous oral traditions had on European explorers in Canada’s subarctic and West Coast. He has done archaeology in four countries and enjoys long walks in the woods.
"It's an epic journey and Shoalts relishes the brutal struggles for dominance, the restless swagger of men such as Peter Pond, the tales of mammoths and wendigos carefully noted by David Thompson, the ghastly cannibalism that occurred on Captain John Franklin's expedition to the Coppermine River.…Shoalts has done an elegant job of patchworking the stories together and reminding us of the vast and brooding influence of geography on our history." –Globe and Mail
"Shoalts analyzes early maps in order to paint a picture of the land that would become a nation, bringing its earliest stories, voices, and battles to life. Combining geography, cartography, history and anthropology, Shoalts leaves no stone unturned." –CBC
“Adam Shoalts gets around. The historian, archaeologist and geographer has been called one of Canada's greatest living explorers. . .He's the author of A History Of Canada in Ten Maps, a researched look at ancient cartography and archaeology to document how the land we call Canada was shaped.” –CBC
"A brilliant book." –Canadian Geographic
“[A] marvel…. If you like maps, you’ll like this book; if you like both maps and crisply recounted Canadian history, you’ll love it. Shoalts…takes you inside [explorers’] heads as they face fear, doubt and despair in tandem with cold, starvation and rebellious wanting-to-turn-back companions…. Canadian history writ well." –Winnipeg Free Press
“A masterful approach to mapping Canada.” –Toronto Star
“[O]ne fine book perfectly written for the armchair adventurer.”—Postmedia