Weaves geography, geology, earth history and exploration into a fascinating story about an important but little known experiment that changed how we map the earth.
Danson has an excellent feel for the practicalities of surveying ... he also has the makings of a good story. John North, Times Literary Supplement It makes highly interesting reading for high school and college level students and a fine reference for individuals wishing to learn more about this important facet of science history - our civilization's attempt to measure accurately the longitude and latitude as a basis for accurate maps and to provide accurate specific locations for all types of research on Earth. Environmental Geology, (2006) 50: 1105-1106 MEASURING the shape of the world in the 18th century was a considerable adventure. Astronomers had to haul equipment to remote corners of the globe to look for its subtle deviations from a perfect sphere. This is history writ large, with a long list of characters, and a background of wars, where good maps could be the key to victory. Danson's narrative sometimes wanders, but his asides can be priceless, like his description of the first British balloonists to cross the English Channel. To keep aloft they had to discard first ballast, then supplies, and ultimately most of their clothing. New Scientist USA Print Edition. January 2006.