Rand McNally

It's quite an undertaking to write a history book. While I've never written one, a good friend of mine did and it took ages. For the most part, history books are even harder to read than write.

I love history, but sometimes wading through minute details or outright assumptions on the part of the author, just isn't worth the time.

Back in 1931, a fellow by the name of John B. Sparks came up with a great idea and he called it The Histomap. It was published by Rand McNally and it sold for $1.00. Yes, for the princely sum of a buck, you had 4,000 years of history on one five foot long page.

Not only could you get the history of civilization on one five foot scroll, but, just like everything else from Rand McNally, it folded up and fit into a nice green cover. If you can't fold a map of Needles, California, how are you going to fold the history of mankind?

The sales pitch that went along with this 'history' claimed that it was:

“clear, vivid, and shorn of elaboration,” while at the same time capable of “holding you enthralled” by presenting:

the actual picture of the march of civilization, from the mud huts of the ancients thru the monarchistic glamour of the middle ages to the living panorama of life in present day America.

The Histomap was also color coded so you could trace each influential cultures progress and contributions.

Here is a great "zoomable" version of the Histomap.