The historian and the longitude

March 24, 2017

An excerpt from an OUPblog article published on 24th March 2017, written by Jim Bennett, author of Navigation: A Very Short Introduction.

Navigation: A Very Short Introduction


"If a social conversation turns to the history of navigation – a turn that is not so unusual as once it was – the most likely episode to be mentioned is the search for a longitude method in the 18th century and the story of John Harrison. The extraordinary success of the book by Dava Sobel has popularised a view of Harrison as a doughty and virtuous fighter, unfairly disadvantaged by the scientific establishment; they failed to recognise, in the words of her title, “a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time.” Does a broader history of navigation justify the common assent to this account, reinforced through film and television (not to mention BAFTA awards)?"

Discover more: Read the rest of the article on the OUPblog.

 

 


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