A reader requests a classic map by Minard, popularized by Tufte, depicting the overleaping ambition of a grand campaign on a continental scale, showing how the thick river of Napoleon’s soldiers set out to conquer Russia, their numbers thinning as they finally reached their prize at Moscow, and then the diminished and rapidly shrunken rivulet of survivors making their pitiful way home, gathering one bunch of auxiliary troops who had been left behind to protect their way, only to perish in a particularly badly handled Berezina river crossing. Not only is the army size shown sequentially in time and space, but the crucial impact of the falling temperatures during the retreat are coldly laid out to make their mute case.
Tufte says: “it may well be the best statistical graphic ever drawn”. It certainly sets a benchmark for contemporary statisticians to strive to attain. Are there any current figures which match this one for economy and dramatic impact?