OCEAN PATHFINDER by Frances Leigh Williams


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This is a biography of Matthew Frances Maury, the nineteenth century American naval officer who was responsible for the modernization of practically every phase of maritime technology. He was the first to undertake a serious study of winds and currents and to chart new routes based on efficiency rather than tradition; he encouraged reform within the administration of the Navy; he supervised the improvements of naval instruments and the building of the Naval Observatory, he stimulated an international conference to pool knowledge of the sea; he directed deep-sea soundings which were an important basis for the laying of the trans-Atlantic cable, and he developed new naval weapons for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The author has written the detailed adult biography of Maury, (Matthew Fontaine Maury: Scientist of the Sea, 1962) Maury's personal life was unexceptional in comparison, to his achievements, and unfortunately, in trying to make his subject interesting to a juvenile audience, the author has been led off course with a heavy use of dialogue (all ""based on things Maury said or wrote"" but frequently banal) and a tendency toward cliche. This is an excellent source of information about Maury for the few really enthusiastic students of naval history and ocean science who want it.

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 1966
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World