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Word Count: 518
Longitude does not seem to be a topic that would set the readers interest and imagination racing but Dava Sobel manages to make what is a seemingly boring topic into a tale that is gripping exciting and educational She does this by the quality of her writing She has the happy knack of being able to describe technical and often difficult topics with a grace and clarity that is enchanting She makes the era come alive and gives the reader a real understanding of those times By so doing she provokes sympathy in the reader for the times and the immense achievements of the clockmaker Harrison whose life-long work was to change forever how we travel and trade Dava Sobel uses clear and direct writing with plenty of well-used parts of speech for example The Board of Latitude slapped Mudges wrist She uses dramatic construction such as short paragraphs In comparison John Harrison offered the world a little ticking thing in a box Preposterous Examples such as these are used continually throughout the text which consequently engages the reader The text is written logically with events coming in chronological order Dava Sobel gives the reader a good solid background of the events prior to Harrisons discoveries She tells the reader in detail why the world needed to find the longitude and methods prior to Harrisons clocks This gives the reader a good understanding of the pressures that the people faced and how they were dealing with them Sobel tracks Harrisons progress in the race for longitude and all the travails and mistreatment he experienced in that time Little is known of Harrisons life but he was a mechanic in the bitter rivalry between the astronomers and the mechanics It is the struggle between these two factions and the way she expressed them that makes for Longitudes compelling read The story is also broad not just history but also technical sociological and the importance to trade
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