MAP OF A NATION: A BIOGRAPHY OF THE ORDNANCE SURVEY
Map of a Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey (Granta, 2010) tells the story of the creation of the Ordnance Survey map – the first complete, accurate, affordable map of the British Isles. The Ordnance Survey is a much beloved British institution, and Map of a Nation is, amazingly, the first popular history to tell the story of the map and the map-makers who dreamt and delivered it. The Ordnance Survey’s history is one of political revolutions, rebellions and regional unions that altered the shape and identity of the United Kingdom over the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It’s also a deliciously readable account of one of the great untold British adventure stories, featuring intrepid individuals lugging brass theodolites up mountains to make the country visible to itself for the first time.
Map of a Nation won the Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Prize for Non-Fiction and was shortlisted for the Galaxy Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year.
Brian Friel’s 1989 play Making History centres on Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, who led an Irish and Spanish alliance against the armies of Elizabeth I in an attempt to drive the English out of Ireland. The action takes place before and after the Battle of Kinsale, at which the alliance was defeated: with O’Neill at home in Dungannon, as a fugitive in the mountains, and finally exiled in Rome. In his handling of this momentous episode Brian Friel has avoided the conventions of ‘historical drama’ to produce a play about history, the continuing process. Rachel Hewitt wrote the York Notes Advanced guide to Friel’s play.