THE SKY AND THE SAILOR by Harold Augustin Calahan


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This history of celestial navigation, more than liberally salted with the author's speculations as to the truth of the facts the scholars have set down for posterity, is written from a sailor's viewpoint. The author tells with respect of the contributions of great men to navigation -- of Kratosthenes who measured the earth of Mercatur and his sea charts, of Bowditch, who made mathematics practical for seamen, of Sumner, who discovered the line of position, of Maury and his study of ocean currents, of Harrington, who with painstaking craftsmanship devoted his life to the perfection of the chronometer. With refreshing sauciness he refutes the story of the sacred calabash, presents theory that Columbus must already have been to America before his so-called voyage of discovery, whittles down the myth of Prince Henry of Portugal. At times one feels the author's own stories are also mythical -there is as much speculation as fact (it becomes quite technical at times), but for lovers of the sea this book has its definite interest.

Publisher: Harper