by Dava Sobel
In BriefThe 18th century boom in maritime exploration and trade brought about an urgent quest for a reliable method to determine the longitude of a ship at sea. A magnificent prize was offered by Parliament, but would it go to the Establishment's astronomers or to a humble clockmaker from Yorkshire?
Why you should read itA history, a biography and a popular science book all rolled into one slim volume, Longitude is one of the most enthralling non-fiction acounts on the shelves. Even amongst the intrigue, the shipwrecks, the pirates and the fantasists, the intricate workings of a precision clock mechanism become absolutely fascinating in Dava Sobel's hands.