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19 Reviews
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 3 Mar 2014
A great book - part love-letter to the sextant, part gripping re-telling of some of the greatest sea-adventures of all time. And if this wasn't enough, the text is interwoven with the author's own account of his first trans-Atlantic voyage in the 1970s (well before GPS) - learning how to sail and how to navigate by the stars. It reminds us all how much we all owe to this delicate instrument - and to the men who braved the dangers of the deep and used it to map our world. The writing is sublime - he gives the reader a very real sense of what it is like to be lost in the Pacific, running out of food and water, reliant only on the starry heavens above to guide the boat to safety.... History, adventure and star-gazing all in one terrific volume.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for those with a love of the sea and stars, 3 Mar 2014
Beautifully written and extremely engaging. The author's love of the subject matter is infectious!

Really opened my eyes to the importance of the Sextant both historically and to the future of navigation. Hopefully this book will go some way to making sure that the use of this equipment will never become a lost art.

A fascinating read that I will definitely be returning to for many years to come.

Highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read!, 6 Mar 2014
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A beautifully written story that tells some of the most epic tales known with others that are less well known (but should be) alongside the authors own personal narrative. It's a page turner filled with humour and gives the reader new insights into human endeavour and is deeply uplifting. An awesome book!! And the final page brought tears to my eyes!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating tale that every sailor and landlubber should read, 4 Mar 2014
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A superb tribute to a nearly forgotten instrument of navigation and to those brave adventurer-explorers of our world, who without it would have been lost . Beautifully written and illustrated.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book of beauty and precision!, 12 Aug 2014
A story to grip sailors and landlubbers alike! Barrie writes like an angel and has woven these tales of discovery, invention and exploration together into a marvellous map of the seas and stars. He has the gift to captivate in a way that suggests he could write on any subject he was passionate about and convey much of that fascination and feeling to his readers.
I hope that there are other books to follow.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 8 July 2014
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Excellent book for anyone interested in sailing & navigation ,highly recommended .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great condition, fast deliver, great reading, 24 Jun 2014
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It was delivered very quick to my house, and the piece is in great shape . Still haven't finish the book, but it is already interesting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The sea and the stars, 15 Jun 2014
This is a delightful book. David Barrie weaves together his own experiences at sea with accounts of some of history’s most fascinating maritime voyages and the development of navigational instruments. Barrie takes us to sea with Captain Cook, George Vancouver, Matthew Flinders, Robert Fitzroy and Sir Earnest Shackleton (among others), bringing their adventures and trials vividly to life. Sextant is a window onto an age of seemingly limitless possibility and exploration, peopled by courageous and innovative figures. While Barrie’s sea stories entertain, they also help to establish his central point, for above all, Sextant is a tribute to the eponymous instrument. For Barrie, the sextant is not merely a quaint nautical artifact, but an eminently useful device that both hones and challenges the sailor’s seamanship. Unlike modern nautical instruments, which reply on GPS and computerized data and can function almost independently, the sextant is useless without the sailor’s knowledge and experience; it requires his understanding of mathematics and astronomy to function successfully. Barrie’s own knowledge of celestial navigation enables him to provide accessible explanations of the often intricate necessary calculations and observations. The reader is left feeling great admiration for those sailors who have mastered this complex yet elegant art. Barrie acknowledges the value of modern navigational systems, yet he also recognizes what has been lost as a result of increased reliance on new technology. Barrie argues that sailors “are not only turning their backs on the very things that make the whole undertaking worthwhile, but they are also denying themselves the precious rewards of agency—the use of hand, head, and eye to solve problems and overcome difficulty.” Sextant is a strong argument for the value and importance, not only of traditional navigational skills, but of the many other traditional skills we are in danger of losing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sextant by Davia Barrie, 2 Jun 2014
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Very well laid out account of the evolution of the sextant. Good historical record of events and facts. Recommended reading!
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4.0 out of 5 stars NOT MUCH ON THE HISTORY OF THE SEXTANT, 16 May 2014
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NOT MUCH ON THE HISTORY OF THE SEXTANT, BUT I DID ENJOY THE STORYS OF COOK, FLINDERS ETC. WELL WORTH BYING.
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Sextant: A Young Man's Daring Sea Voyage and the Men Who Mapped the World's Oceans
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