Welcome to the NavList Message Boards.

NavList:

A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding

Compose Your Message

Message:αβγ
Message:abc
Add Images & Files
    or...
       
    Reply
    Re: Books about Bowditch
    From: Patrick Goold
    Date: 2010 Mar 15, 10:30 -0400
    Frank,
    Thanks for the warning about the errors in the Lapham book!  And for the Bowditch biography references.   It is more likely I will follow up first the Derek Howse that Brad Morris makes reference to.  Nevil Maskelyne has been someone I have wanted to find out more about every since I encountered him in Mason and Dixon (one of my all-time favorite novels).  The only other place I have read much about him is in Edwin Danson's Weighing the world: The Quest to Measure the Earth.  Do you have other Maskelyne recommendations?  

    Patrick


    On Mon, Mar 15, 2010 at 8:35 AM, Frank Reed <FrankReed@historicalatlas.com> wrote:

    Patrick Goold, you mentioned, "Carry on Mr. Bowditch". I enjoyed that book, too. It's a fun fictionalized biography. But beware: the accounts of the navigational advances made by Bowditch are not even close. There's a "eureka" moment in the book where he seems to have discovered the concept of lunars. It has him dancing about, waking the captain, and so on. But it wasn't that way at all. Such observations and the math used to process them had been well-known for 20 years by the time he invented (or re-invented) his interesting little mathematical trick. Bowditch didn't *write* the "New American Practical Navigator". He significantly revised Moore's "Practical Navigator". And he did a fine job, too. Of course, for a young audience, the fiction of a "eureka" moment is far more dramatic than "then he re-wrote an equation in a form that, while slightly longer, was generally easier to work". Equally problematic for a young audience was his career after his ocean voyages. He ran an insurance company for most of his life, doing math and science on the side for his own pleasure. Not exactly romantic! :-)

    There are a couple of other Bowditch biographies like "To Steer by the Stars" by Paul Rink. There's another, but the title escapes me. The only one that I would recommend is "Yankee Stargazer" by Berry, published in 1943. Despite the odd title, it's the best Bowditch biography I've read. From what I've been able to check from original sources, it's accurate, too.

    -FER


    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    NavList message boards and member settings: www.fer3.com/NavList
    Members may optionally receive posts by email.
    To cancel email delivery, send a message to NoMail[at]fer3.com
    ----------------------------------------------------------------




    --
    Dr. Patrick Goold
    Department of Philosophy
    Virginia Wesleyan College
    Norfolk, VA 23502
    757 455 3357
       
    Reply
    Browse Files

    Drop Files

    NavList

    What is NavList?

    Join NavList

    Name:
    (please, no nicknames or handles)
    Email:
    Do you want to receive all group messages by email?
    Yes No

    You can also join by posting. Your first on-topic post automatically makes you a member.

    Posting Code

    Enter the email address associated with your NavList messages. Your posting code will be emailed to you immediately.
    Email:

    Email Settings

    Posting Code:

    Custom Index

    Subject:
    Author:
    Start date: (yyyymm dd)
    End date: (yyyymm dd)

    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site
    Visit this site