Dava Sobel tries her hand at historical fantasy.

Dava Sobel’s Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time is almost certainly the most successful popular history of science book published in the last fifty years. This is to some extent understandable as it is a well written enthralling tale of one mans battle against the establishment to solve a great scientific challenge, the determination of longitude at sea. It suffers however from a major flaw, it is a distortion of the real history it is claiming to relate. Sobel makes this tale of a complex episode in the history of science into a struggle between good, represented by John Harrison, and evil represented by Nevil Maskelyne, a severe distortion of the historical facts. To discover more about what really took place I recommend reading the posts at The Board of Longitude Project Blog, my concern here is Sobel’s latest history of science outing A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos [To find out what I think of this book go here]

About thonyc

Aging freak who fell in love with the history of science and now resides mostly in the 16th century.
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