Books: Misguided

The story of a map thief takes too many detours

Invitations to turn magazine articles into books usually prove irresistible, and small wonder. There is the permanence and prestige offered by hard covers, plus the allure of getting paid again for work already finished. Most tempting of all, though, is the promise of more pages on which to tell a story. All magazine writers chafe at the space limitations imposed on them by parsimonious editors.

Miles Harvey's The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime (Random House; 405 pages; $24.95) is the fleshed-out version of an article Harvey published in Outside magazine in June 1997. His topic then...

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