Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Interesting look at the problems of navigation regarding finding longitude in the mid-late 1700s. I learned quite a bit from this book, mostly that I knew very little about navigation in the era of Colonial America. In that respect, this was eye-opening stuff.
Written neither as dry facts nor fascinating story, it’s falls somewhere in the middle of those. A useful read for anyone who is writing Colonial American fiction and needs to understand what ships faced as far as navigation in that time period. I had no idea so much of it was left up to dumb luck!
The underlying human story is about John Harrison and his life’s work to find the means to accurately chart longitude as well as to establish credit for his accomplishments in an era that would rather depend on the stars than a mechanical device. Worth reading, but in truth it could have been condensed into a shorter book, it drags in places.