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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 23 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Harrison (Paperback)
This an excellent book with good illustrations on the subject of the Harrison Clocks which were developed to enable longitude to be measured accuratley at sea. Best read in conjunction with the DVD "Longitude" which is a suberb film showing how the clocks were developed by John Harrison in order to win a financial prize from Parliament, and later how they were restored by Rupert Gould for the Maritime Museum. The film very cleverly intercuts between the lives and work of Harrison & Gould.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent souvenir, 23 Oct 2010
By 
Joseph Haschka (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Harrison (Paperback)
"We know, from his writings, that Harrison had difficulty expressing himself clearly ... Many of the concepts and devices (incorporated in his marine timekeepers) he was trying to describe had no name and he was constantly having to invent a new technological language. This, taken in combination with his humble origins, his lack of formal education, and his probable lack of social graces must have stood Harrison in poor stead before such an elite as the Board of Longitude, especially as very large sums of money were at stake." - from HARRISON

About a month ago, I viewed the excellent TV production of Longitude [DVD] [2000] [US Import] that was based on the best-selling book (Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time) by Dava Sobel. I became so interested in the subject of the invention of marine timekeepers to determine longitude by England's John Harrison in the eighteenth century that, during a recent trip to London, I made a special side trip to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich to see the first four of Harrison's clocks, which are there on display.

At ninety-six pages, HARRISON by Jonathan Betts is a most excellent souvenir of the Harrison exhibit which I purchased in the observatory gift shop. It's a first rate and concise, albeit brief, summary of Harrison's life (1693-1776), his clocks, his decades-long pursuit of the Longitude Prize first offered by Parliament in 1714, his prickly relationship with the government's Board of Longitude, and the 20th century restoration of his devices by Rupert Gould - all familiar to viewers of the television production. The operative words here are "concise", "brief" and "summary". Those desiring more should, I infer, read Sobel's book.

HARRISON is a slick production with a plethora of color photographs and diagrams, including snaps of the inventor's first four marine clocks (named by Gould H1, H2, H3, and H4). The clock photos are particularly useful as visitors to the Harrison exhibit are banned from taking pictures, something I found out to my disbelief and annoyance when confronted by an officious, blazered sentry after I'd innocently shot images of H1 and H2. Upon being asked for the reasons why, his explanation was that a camera's flash will damage the clocks (though I wasn't using that feature), copyrights could be compromised, and, most vague of all, because of "security" concerns. Well, I guess you get what you pay for; admission to the observatory is free. (For the same reasons, I presume, I couldn't photograph Admiral Lord Nelson's Trafalgar uniform - with the fatal bullet hole - down the hill at the National Maritime Museum.) Cheeky, insufferable Yank tourists - oversexed, overfed, over-moneyed, and obnoxious in Greenwich.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An untutored genius, 17 Feb 2011
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John Harrison was an apparently ordinary joiner in the Humberside area of Yorkshire. He heard about the reward offered by the Board of Longitude for a viable means of determining longitude (20,000 for the most accurate determination, maybe 20 or 30 million today) and decided to have a go. The story of his efforts to overcome, not only the technical problems but also the sneering and carping of upper class buffoons who seemed to resent his success where their best efforts led to failure, has been well told elsewhere but this volume tells the story of the man behind the great achievement together with an overview of the problem, the state of technology at the time and his legacy. Buy it, you will enjoy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to John Harrison, 30 Oct 2010
By 
Blackers (Kettering, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Harrison (Paperback)
A small well illustrated book that gives a good insight into the work of this remarkable man and leaves the reader wanting to learn more about him, and also Rupert Gould who restored his neglected historic timepieces.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book, 24 Jun 2012
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Anyone interested in horology will appreciate this book. It delivers a clear, concise explanation of the evolution of Harrison clocks with drawings explaining the progress and refinements made by this talented innovator. It has some 'standard' photographs of the 'H' series of clocks but also some of his lesser known works. This is a relatively short but engrossing read. I lent my copy to a friend who instantly bought two more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, and excellent work, 29 Dec 2011
By 
I. Fraser (UK) - See all my reviews
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This is written by the gentleman who looks after the Harrison timekeepers at the National Maritime Museum, London. Mr Betts is one of the foremost authorities on the subject, and this book is highly recommended for anyone interested in the history of precision timekeeping, and navigation. Articulate, with lots of good images, and incredibly good value.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite Brilliant, 28 Mar 2010
By 
Mr. Kalwinder Singh Dhindsa "KSDhindsa" (DERBY, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Harrison (Paperback)
If R T Gould's The Marine Chronometer was the definitive reference work on the Marine Chronometer. Then this has to be the definitive illustrated work on the Marine Chronometer.

Once again this is a fantastic history of the marine chronometer, written again by someone with great passion and determination.

Thank Goodness Del and Rodney found H6 ;)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Buy, 7 Nov 2010
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If you have been fascinated by the film or book about Longititude, then this is well worth having. Harrison was a genius and it shows.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Horology Book, 22 April 2014
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As I clock maker myself I found this book very interesting. I had seen the film and the book is just as gripping.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Harrison, Jonathan Betts, 9 Feb 2013
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I bought this book along with Dava Sobel's book and the DVD 'Longitude', (frequently bought together). I had seen (and have still got on VHS somewhere) a long time ago the film on TV which I thought at the time was great history (should be shown in all schools). I have now got a modern DVD version. I have just finnished reading the books and they are an excellent read. I read the paperback (Sobel's) first then this one by Mr Betts. The story of time to find your position in the world whilst at sea is fascinating and this book is excellent at explaining how it was all done. The 'Fools and Horses' episode also gets a mention. The quality of the book is 1st class and the diagrams and photos are also very good. The whole story is really what put the 'great' into Great Britain and is the reason why Britain ruled the waves and was able to create the British Empire. It also makes you appreciate the quartz watch you wear on your wrist today, yet take for granted. Great book.
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Harrison by Jonathan Betts (Paperback - 20 Sep 2007)
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