Longitude (Dava Sobel) – At sea in the XVIII century

Longitude (Dava Sobel) – At sea in the XVIII century


I like stories about the sea and the men who venture into it. From whaling to warfare, I find the sea enormously attractive, even though I get terribly sick almost as soon as I set foot on board.

One of my favourite books is The shadow line by Joseph Conrad and I keep watching The perfect storm over and over again. While on holidays this summer, we stopped by chance at Mystic Seaport (Connecticut), a small whaling port now turned into a historic site. I came across this book at the souvenirs shop and I thought that it could make good summer reading. And it certainly does.

I had never thought that determining the exact position of a boat at sea was done so primitively until the 17th century. Admirals and explorers were truly blind when it came to determining how east or west they were from their starting point. The tools were basic at best and the consequences of their inaccuracy were the lost lives of whole crews. That is the starting premise for the book and the plot revolves around how the world powers of the time tried to solve that problem. The central character is John Harrison, an English carpenter and clockmaker who manufactured the first marine timekeepers in his pursuit to win the reward set by the English Longitude Act of 1714.

The technical advances in astronomy and clock craftmanship of the 16th and 17th centuries are unlikely to make light or best selling reading. But Dava Sobel goes beyond that obstacle, she turns the story of John Harrison and his first marine chronometer, into a race for glory and wealth. And her account of the political intrigues at the Royal Society describe how an emerging power like the Britain of that time understood very well that technology could be the foundation of their future preeminence. It is that mix of politics, science and ambition that ultimately made the Royal Observatory at Greenwich the centre of the world.

Dava Sobel’s style is easy to follow, she does not get lost in complicated technical explanations. She does not focus solely on the race for money and recognition, but also on the impact this issue had on the big personalities of the time (e.g. John Cook, King George III). Her book appeals to those who enjoy history, marine stories, politics…and clock-making.

It is a really good book.


Nota del autor: “No he recibido ningún tipo de compensación (económica o no) por escribir este artículo, no tengo conexión material con las marcas, productos o servicios que he mencionado y mi opinión es independiente”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Author:


  1. Manolo Noya agosto 27, 2015 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Habrá que leerlo…: gracias por la recomendación

  2. Nydia enero 20, 2018 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    I feel that is one oof the most significant info for me.
    Annd i am glad studying your article. But wanna commentary
    on some basic issues, The website taste is great, the articles is in point
    of fact great : D. Excellent task, cheers

    • Luz Picos Freire enero 21, 2018 at 1:58 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Nydia!

  3. Fawn febrero 3, 2018 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Great delivery. Solikd arguments. Keep up the great spirit.

    • Luz Picos Freire febrero 3, 2018 at 10:49 pm - Reply


  4. www.webmaster-link-exchange.com marzo 12, 2018 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    Very good blog post. I absolutely love this website. Keep it up!

    • Luz Picos Freire marzo 12, 2018 at 11:31 pm - Reply


  5. Eileen marzo 15, 2018 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Touche. Sound arguments. Keep up the great spirit.

    • admin marzo 16, 2018 at 5:30 pm - Reply


  6. Quyen marzo 17, 2018 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    It is in point of fact a great and useful piece off info.
    I’m glad that you shared this helpful information with us.
    Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

    • Luz Picos Freire marzo 18, 2018 at 12:32 pm - Reply


  7. Elizabeth marzo 17, 2018 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    Hello, I would like to subscribe for this web site too get
    latest updates, therefore where can i do it please help out.

    • Luz Picos Freire marzo 18, 2018 at 12:40 pm - Reply

      At the bottom of our page you have the option to subscribe. Thanks

  8. Bethany marzo 18, 2018 at 12:45 am - Reply

    I lime what you guys are upp too. Thiss type of clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve included you guys to my own blogroll.

    • Luz Picos Freire marzo 18, 2018 at 12:41 pm - Reply


  9. Sofia marzo 18, 2018 at 12:53 am - Reply

    What a information of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious know-how concerning unpredicted feelings.

    • Luz Picos Freire marzo 18, 2018 at 12:40 pm - Reply


  10. Joeann marzo 18, 2018 at 7:37 am - Reply

    Fine way off describing, and nice paragraph to obtain facts concerning my presentation suubject matter, which i
    am going to convey in academy.

    • Luz Picos Freire marzo 18, 2018 at 12:40 pm - Reply


  11. Michelle marzo 19, 2018 at 3:25 am - Reply

    What’s up, I want to subscribe for this web site to get hottest updates, thus where can i do
    it please help.

    • Luz Picos Freire marzo 19, 2018 at 7:30 am - Reply

      At the bottom of our page you have the option to subscribe. Thanks

  12. Leslie marzo 19, 2018 at 10:04 am - Reply

    It’s awesome to visit this site and reading the views of all maqtes oon thee topic of this article, while I am
    also zealous of getting experience.

    • Luz Picos Freire marzo 19, 2018 at 11:19 am - Reply


  13. Flossie marzo 19, 2018 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    whoah this weblog is excellent i really like reading your posts.
    Keep up the good work! You already know, manny persons are looking round for
    this information, you can help them greatly.

  14. Eliza marzo 21, 2018 at 12:07 am - Reply

    Great blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to fihd high-quality writing like yours nowadays.
    I truly appreciate individuals like you! Takee care!!

    • Luz Picos Freire marzo 29, 2018 at 12:41 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Eliza!

Leave A Comment