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: Dava Sobel
    From: Frank Reed CT
    Date: 2006 Apr 30, 06:51 EDT

    Regarding George H's warnings that Sobel's  "Longitude" might send him into
    apoplectic fits, Alex E. wrote:
    "That's true.  I already returned the book, and you calmed me down about
    the  hanging"
    
    The hanging is probably legend. Much of the rest is probably  true. There are
    several different versions of the legend running around. One  version has the
    sailor who gets hanged smelling the burning kelp pits of Scilly  instead of
    keeping his own reckoning as in Sobel. These legends have been around  for a
    very long time, perhaps from the early 19th century. Sobel certainly  didn't
    invent any of it. I learned more or less the same story of Shovell's  fleet, and
    told with the same "morality play" style, when I first started  reading about
    lunars and longitude back in the late 1970s.
    
    As for the  rest of Sobel's book, it's really very good (especially the
    Illustrated  edition). It's a goldmine of interesting anecdotes in the history of
    navigation.  I would bet you cold hard cash (not very much, mind you ) that
    you  would learn literally dozens of things you never knew before by sitting
    down and  reading that book. And the prose is quite eloquent. As William F.
    Buckley put  it: "an exquisitely done narrative of the chronometer".
    
    Of course no book  is perfect, and she certainly plays up the "villain" role
    for Maskelyne (and  says so explicitly). That's a judgement call rather than a
    matter of fact. I  disagree with her judgement there, but her account of the
    historical facts is  mostly reliable, though not without exception. Of course,
    then again, my  training is in physics and astronomy. I've got more in common
    with Maskelyne  than Harrison. Most of the real lunars fans on this list
    probably have similar  biases. How many of the people who post frequently about
    lunars on this list are  also unusually well-versed in mathematics, or physics,
    or astronomy, or all  three??
    
    -FER
    42.0N 87.7W, or 41.4N  72.1W.
    www.HistoricalAtlas.com/lunars
    
    
    

       
    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