Who? Michael Blanding
Doing what? Talking about his book
Which is? The Map Thief
Which is? The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps
When? Monday, November 9th at 5:30pm
Where? VC Library, Class of ’51 Reading Room
THE BOOK: Maps have long exerted a special fascination on viewers – both as beautiful works of art and practical tools to navigate the world. For those that collect them, however, the map trade can be a cutthroat business, inhabited by quirky and in some cases disreputable characters in search of a finite number of extremely rare objects. E. Forbes Smiley III, esteemed and respectable antiquarian map dealer, spent years doubling as a map thief until he was finally arrested while delicately tearing maps out of books in the Yale University Library in 2005. He would later confess to the theft of 97 maps valued at over $3m total, and serve 42 months in prison for his crimes.
THE AUTHOR: Michael Blanding is the author of The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink (Avery, 2010), and a journalist with more than 15 years of experience writing long-form narrative and investigative journalism. Previously a staff writer and editor at Boston magazine, Blanding has since freelanced for publications including WIRED, Slate, The Nation, The New Republic, Consumers Digest, and the Boston Globe Magazine, where he has focused on investigative stories involving intensive research and interviews. Blanding has been named a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, and a network fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. An amateur map lover, Blanding has a collection of international subway maps and bought his first antiquarian map while reporting this book.