Off the Map: Curious Histories of Place Names by Derek Nelson
Is it Rangoon, Burma (as the American media prefer), or Yangon, Myanmar (as their government decrees)? Is it Ivory Coast or Cote d'Ivoire? What keeps us from calling other countries by the names they use for themselves? The Hindu names for Indian isn't India and the Japanese don't call their country Japan. The tangled answers to these questions- and to dozens of other typonymic conundra- appear in this armchair adventure around the four corners of the globe (a biblical phrase that resulted in the belief that the earth was square).