A work so thoroughly researched and beautifully written that it still has no equal today; the book is particularly valued for its fine and careful pen-and-ink illustrations of mechanisms, drawn by the author. Rupert T. Gould spent much of his life restoring the Harrison timepieces that finally solved the longitude problem in 1700s.
I'm not normally disposed to submit reviews but this book is ample cause to make an exception. I have a copy of the 1978 reprint, purchased when I was an apprenticed clock and watchmaker in the early 1980s. This book has remained a much read and loved companion throughout the last 30 plus years, and through subsiquent changes in life and career. No book on any subject can be truly definitive but, if that adjective can be applied at all then surely it is to Rupert Gould's magnum opus.
Notwithstanding the poor quality of the paper and printing of the 1978 edition I seriously questioned whether it was necessary to invest in this latest edition but was swayed by the promise of addtional material. If anyone else is hesitating from purchasing this new edition for similar reasons don't! Gould's note and sketches which here suppliment the original text are a genuine revelation and have already, on one reading, added considerably to my knowledge and understanding of this facinating subject. The quality of the paper, production and reproduction of the photographs and drawings is infinitely superior to the earlier edition. As close to definitive as it is possible to get, and a masterpiece.
This is a publishing event which has been long anticipated. Was it worth the wait? - You bet! Anyone at all interested in the technicalities of navigation should have this monumental work on their bookshelf. Rupert Gould was notable as the restorer of the long-neglected Harrison marine timepieces, a polymath and regular panellist on the old BBC Brains Trust, and contributor to Childrens' Hour. Originally published in the 1920's, I applaud The Antique Collectors Club for this new edition. Gould's original text is given in full, complete with his illustrations and amendments for a planned update. Now Jonathan Betts MBE, Senior Curator of Horology at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich has added material and images to bring Gould's work thoroughly up to date. But Gould did not stop with Harrison. Details of the lives and work of later instrument makers ensure the value of this encyclopaedic volume. If you enjoyed Dava Sobel's best-seller 'Longitude', and film of the same title, and wish to know what happened both before and after Harrison, you need this book!
This is an exceptional work and if you can find it at a decent price (less than GBP 50 or USD 100), I highly recommend it. HOWEVER, this book was supposedly reprinted in 2006 by the Antique Collectors Club. It has been advertised on all the Amazon websites since 2005. I placed an order in early 2006 and NEVER saw it appear. I tried contacting the Antique Collectors Club and they never got back to me (and Amazon US indicates that the reprint is yet to be published). Some secondary sellers have tried to indicate that they have this reprint, which is an outright lie. Beware...
Wow! What a book! Have desired this book for longer than I care to remember, but have always managed to dissuade myself in the past with thoughts of a particularly extravagant purchase. However, the seller I selected offered the book at a very good price, and I finally couldn't resist any longer. Having now received said book earlier than I anticipated in view of the usual Christmas havoc, I really could not be more pleased - and certainly one of my better purchases. In truth, have only had the chance to flick through the book, but already I can tell it is a real treasure. I am a great admirer of Gould...a remarkable man who unfortunately led a rather tortured existence...and this book is testament to the man's undoubted genius. Highly recommended in every possible way.
Talking to a person who has owned the original and compared it with the Antique Collectors Club reprint, the latter comes out ahead for clarity of pictures and text. I have no way of confirming this, but the ACC edition is typical of the ACC output as far as quality goes. Clear text, clear pictures and line drawings and none of the faults that the OCR version displays. Apparently the OCR version is devoid of illustrations and close to being gibberish. The book feels as if it was crafted rather than written, and there is a feeling the author had been making precision chronometers between chapters. Obviously the definitive guide and many promises of a reprint have been made with none coming to fruition barring the aforementioned OCR tripe. Impossible to find at an affordable price as jusdged by most people, unfortunately there is no substitute so far.
This is a significant new edition by the best qualified person in this field. It is a beautifully produced book with the additions and notes maintaining the quality of writing and explanation of the original. Advantage is taken of having a larger format and the availability of today's advanced printing and presentation techniques. It is truly a joy to read and handle while extending ones understanding of this absorbing subject.