In 1995 a reader was arrested in Baltimore's George Peabody Library. He was stealing maps from rare books, but the thief was no scholar - he was a cartomaniac. After the discovery of a number of assumed names he was finally identified as Gilbert Bland: a nobody. Bland's crime sets the author of this book off in many directions: he explores early map-making as well as kleptomania, and there is also a little detective work, as Miles Harvey tracks down and confronts Bland. Among the many digressions, there are ruminations on on library security (including Bland's own suggestions) and on the influence that the big auction houses have had in encouraging breaking, where a volume can fetch many times its intact worth, once broken down into multiple sought-after parts.