This biography of the ""pathfinder of the seas"" is interesting largely as Maury's life is interesting; it is a competent job, through not inspired writing. Meury's appears on every U.S. Hydrographic Office chart for he was the man who laid the foundations of the Weather Bureau, the man who first charted currents, prevailing winds of the oceans, etc. A little recognized genius outside the limitations of the scientific world, he did many important things for his country, which he knew in all its parts. His domestic life was colorful, as one of an immense family and father of eight children, but the personal aspects are unfortunately toned down and rather sombrely told. There is no attempt to analyze his contributions to science, so the value of the book lies in its presentation of the man as scientist, but not in its contribution to the field of navigation or meteorology. The period -- 1815-1873 -- includes an important phase of the country's growth, with his signal contribution to an infant science.