Customer Review

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but only part of the picture., 18 Aug 2006
This review is from: Longitude (Paperback)
This is an enjoyable book, but it is a pity that in making a good tale, the author has given such an unbalanced account. The Harrison chronometer was far from being the "solution" to the Longitude problem that Sobel implies. When Captain Vancouver sailed from England to the Pacific North West of America in the 1790's his two Harrison chronometers were showing times forty five minutes apart by the time he got there, making them useless. The "lunar distance method" gave the necessary correction. Captain Cook and his officers used lunar distances successfully in Australia, and when Joshua Slocum made his famous single handed voyage around the world, he carried a cheap alarm clock rather than chronometers because he used lunar distances. Enjoy the book, but look further, and look beyond crude hero and villain stereotypes!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 May 2009 14:42:06 BDT
cosmicelk says:
That is right. Dava Sobel's account was based on secondary sources, and was blank on Humberside, Hull and the influences which surrounded Harrison, who was just as interested in his new musical scales, as his longitude clock. Although h4, which was made by Larcum Kendall did work - and was tested by Cook, it was far too expensive to kit out the navy and other shipping. By that time other chronometers such as Arnold's, met the criteria.
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