‘An excellent present for anyone even vaguely interested in the stars, or the history of exploration, or sailing small boats over big oceans, or come to think of it anyone at all. And buy a copy for yourself while you’re about it – ‘Sextant’ reviewed in Marine Quarterly, December 2014

Saecwen at sea

Writing in that excellent British magazine, Marine Quarterly, Toby al-Shasli says this of my book Sextant :

It ‘is partly an account of [the author’s] transatlantic voyage with Colin McMullen in Saecwen (see above) back in 1973. More importantly, though, the voyage provides an account of the development of celestial navigation from earliest times to the present day [through] the lives and adventures of some of the explorers who mapped the globe’.

Sextant ‘gives the reader the idea that he is having a conversation with someone who knows his subject intimately, but wears the knowledge lightly’.  al-Shasli comments in passing that it is ‘better written and more interesting’ than Dava Sobel’s bestselling Longitude – and that it corrects some of her errors, notably her unfair treatment of the great astronomer Maskelyne.

‘The end result is a work that is a useful history of astro, and an excellent introduction to some of the great names in exploration.  It will make an excellent present for anyone even vaguely interested in the stars, or the history of exploration, or sailing small boats over big oceans, or come to think of it anyone at all.  And buy a copy for yourself while you’re about it.’

Well, thank you very kindly Toby al-Shasli!