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3.0 out of 5 stars
Unnecessarily inaccurate, 31 July 2012
Reading previous reviews I am grateful to have on-line access to this edition plus a hard copy of the first. This is the sort of work that we trust to have striven for factual accuracy above all things. And of course it seems to have done so in nearly every case. But not, alas, in all.
____Take the entry for the Russian Antarctic explorer Bellingshausen. Basic facts have been available ever since the English translation of his voyage narrative appeared in 1945. Nevertheless the first edition contained numerous 'unforced errors', and despite correcting a couple, this new edition has preserved others. Thus the year of Bellingshausen's first entry into active service is wrong, the ships commanded by the two captains on the expedition are the wrong way around, the discovery date for Peter I Island is wrong, and the article alleges that Bellingshausen `penetrated further south than any previous expedition', when in fact he famously fell short of Cook's furthest south by 17 minutes.
____After so much misinformation the highly dubious finding that 'Bellingshausen's Antarctic discoveries received little or no recognition from his contemporaries' hardly deserves a mention.
____Outwith the first point above, about B's service record, the facts had been available for almost 60 years when the new edition of OCSS was prepared without LOOKING THEM UP. And of course the problem with finding such a little cluster of mistakes in such an admired and necessary work of reference is always - what else might be inaccurate, which I don't have the knowledge to spot for myself?