Thursday, November 1, 2012

Top ten nautical books

Peter F. Stevens is the award-winning author of The Voyage of the Catalpa: A Perilous Journey and Six Irish Rebels' Escape to Freedom.

In 2003 he named his top ten nautical books for the Guardian.  One title on the list:
Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel

This is not strictly a maritime saga, but the pages teem with 17th century mariners encountering disaster or near-disaster as they grapple with the most perplexing nautical problem since time immemorial: a means to determine longitude. In Dava Sobel's work, we meet the man who tackled the dilemma that had baffled the likes of Galileo and Newton. The conqueror's name was John Harrison, a clockmaker by trade, who solved the riddle of fixing an east-west position and thus earned the sobriquet 'Longitude' Harrison. I love this book for its unique hero, hardly the quintessential maritime legend, and for Sobel's fascinating, white-knuckle looks at the woes that ship's masters faced without the means to determine longitude.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Longitude is on the Barnes & Noble Review's list of five top books on navigators.

--Marshal Zeringue