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    Re: Cotter - copy located
    From: George Huxtable
    Date: 2004 Sep 10, 22:16 +0100

    Courtney Thomas asked, about Cotter's "A History of Nautical Astronomy"-
    >There's one on abebooks.com for $199.50.
    >May I ask why is this book(s) worth $200 ?
    The short answer is because the seller, presumably, thinks he can get it,
    on account of the rarity and uniqueness of this book.
    I have asked on this list if members know of other works which explain
    pre-Sumner navigation techniques without skipping the basic maths involved,
    to meet my own interests and I guess those of a significant fraction of
    Nav-L members
    Some suggestions have been-
    Hewson, JB, "A history of the practice of navigation", 1951 (who skips the
    maths of the lunar).
    May, WE, "A history of marine navigation", Good on compasses, avoids all maths.
    Albuquerque, Luis de. "Astronomical Navigation" (Lisbon, 1988). Confines
    itself to 15th-16th century Portuguese navigation, so latitude navigation
    Forbes, Eric G, "The birth of navigation science", 1974. National Maritime
    Museum pamphlet No.10. About the longitude problem, lunars, and
    chronometers, but in words and pictures only. Lots of references.
    I have all of these on my shelves but have found that none does the job
    that Cotter does, so to me, Cotter occupies a unique place been unafraid of
    getting into the mathematical background. His book also contains a
    remarkable list of references.
    He was a lecturer at a nautical college in Cardiff, Wales, which must have
    held a first-class historical library in which to delve.
    But in my view he was working right at the limits of his understanding. In
    this field he was quite on his own, as his son has recently confirmed to
    me. It was before the days of email, so Cotter didn't have the chance,
    which we now enjoy on Nav-l, to offer his ideas to the criticism and
    argument of others.
    Perhaps as a result, his book is littered with technical errors, which is
    my biggest (perhaps my only) criticism. Jan Kalivoda and I (with help from
    Herbert Prinz) have assembled a web-page which lists points at which errors
    lurk (or are suspected to lurk). It does not claim to be exhaustive, but
    aims be useful to any reader or owner of Cotter's book. We recommend that
    it be printed out and slipped between the pages. You can find it on-
    Cotter wrote several other books on nautical topics: "A history of the
    navigator's sextant" (which is good), and standard texts, "The complete
    coastal navigator" and, I think, on the Physical Geography of the Oceans,
    which are so-so. So make sure you acquire the right Cotter.
    Geoff Butt didn't give information for contacting Warsash Nautical
    Bookshop. Warsash is is at the upper end of Portsmouth Harbour in the UK.
    The phone number I have here is-
    01481 572384 or from outside UK +44 1481 572384. Sorry, but I don't have
    their email address to hand. I can recommend them as good people to deal
    with. Geoff didn't say how much they were asking for Cotter, but I bet it
    was a lot less than $200!
    contact George Huxtable by email at george---.u-net.com, by phone at
    01865 820222 (from outside UK, +44 1865 820222), or by mail at 1 Sandy
    Lane, Southmoor, Abingdon, Oxon OX13 5HX, UK.

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