See also: Polar Exploration, Nautical Dictionaries
and Naval History

  • The First Astromomers
  • Latitude
  • In Oceans Deep
  • Seeing Further
  • Navigational Instruments
  • We, the Navigators. Second Edition
  • The Glass Universe
  • Sextant
  • Longitude
  • Plimsoll Sensation
  • On Natural Selection

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    How Indigenous Elders read the Stars
    By Duane Hamacher, Paperback, 0.40 kg, 152mm x 234mm, 290 pages. Full Colour Photographs. Published 2022

    Our eyes have been drawn away from the skies to our screens.

    We no longer look to the stars to forecast the weather, predict the seasons or plant our gardens. Most of us cannot even see the Milky Way. But First Nation Elders around the world still maintain this knowledge, and there is much we can learn from them.

    These Elders are expert observers of the stars. They teach that everything on the land is reflected in the sky, and everything in the sky is reflected on the land. How does this work, and how can we better understand our place in the Universe?

    Guided by six First Nation Elders, Duane Hamacher takes us on a journey across space and time to reveal the wisdom of the first astronomers. These living systems of knowledge challenge conventional ideas about the nature of science and the longevity of oral tradition. Indigenous science is dynamic, adapting to changes in the skies and on earth, pointing the way for a world facing the profound disruptions of climate change.

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    The Astonishing Adventure that Shaped the World
    By Nicholas Crane, Hardback, 0.42 kg, 145mm x 225mm, 257 pages. Sepia Photographs. Published 2021

    By knowing the shape of our earth we can create maps, survive the oceans, follow rivers, navigate the skies, and travel across the globe.
    This is the story of our world, of how we discovered what no one thought possible - the shape of the earth.

    The year is 1735. Twelve unruly men board ships bound for South America. Their mission? To discover the true shape of the earth. They will be exposed to a wilderness of dangers none can imagine. The survivors won't return for ten years.

    The world's first international team of scientists was sent to a continent of unmapped rainforests and ice-shrouded volcanoes where they attempted to measure the length on the ground of one degree of latitude. Beset by egos and disease, storms and earthquakes, mutiny and murder, they struggled for ten years to reach the single figure they sought.

    A breathtaking tale of courage in adversity, it is celebrated today as the first modern exploring expedition.
    An epic story of survival and science set in mountain camps and remote observatories, featuring a gaggle of misfits who made breakthroughs in rubber and platinum, gravity, quinine and Inca Archaeology.

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    Courage, innovation and Adventure Beneath the Waves.
    By Bill Streever, Softback, 0.54 kg, 140mm x 210mm, 303 pages. This Edition Published 2020

    In an age of unprecedented exploration and innovation, our oceans remain largely unknown, and endlessly fascinating: full of mystery, danger, beauty, and inspiration. Bill Streever-a longtime deep-sea diver himself-has masterfully woven together the science and history of Earth's last remaining frontier: the sea.

    In Oceans Deep celebrates the daring pioneers who tested the limits of what the human body can endure under water: free divers able to reach 300 feet on a single breath; engineers and scientists who uncovered the secrets of decompression; teenagers who built their own diving gear from discarded boilers and garden hoses in the 1930s; saturation divers who lived under water for weeks at a time in the 1960s; and the trailblazing men who voluntarily breathed experimental gases at pressures sufficient to trigger insanity.

    Tracing both the little-known history and exciting future of how we travel and study the depths, Streever's captivating journey includes seventeenth-century leather-hulled submarines, their nuclear-powered descendants, a workshop where luxury submersibles are built for billionaire clients, and robots capable of roving unsupervised between continents, revolutionizing access to the ocean.

    In this far-flung trip to the wild, night-dark place of shipwrecks, trapped submariners, oil wells, innovative technologies, and people willing to risk their lives while challenging the deep, we discover all the adventures our seas have to offer-and why they are in such dire need of conservation.

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    SEEING FURTHER The Story of Science and the Royal Society.
    By Bill Bryson. Paperback, 130mm x 200mm, 464 pages, 0.44 kgs.Colour Photographs. Published 2019.

    The story of science and the Royal Society, edited and introduced by Bill Bryson-with contributions.

    On a damp weeknight in November, 350 years ago, a dozen or so men gathered at Gresham College in London. A twenty-eight year old – and not widely famous – Christopher Wren was giving a lecture on astronomy. As his audience listened to him speak, they decided that it would be a good idea to create a Society to promote the accumulation of useful knowledge. With that, the Royal Society was born.

    Since its birth, the Royal Society has pioneered scientific exploration and discovery. Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, Joseph Banks, Humphry Davy, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, John Locke, Alexander Fleming – all were fellows. Bill Bryson’s favourite fellow was Reverend Thomas Bayes, a brilliant mathematician who devised Bayes’ theorem. Its complexity meant that it had little practical use in Bayes’ own lifetime, but today his theorem is used for weather forecasting, astrophysics and stock market analysis. A milestone in mathematical history, it only exists because the Royal Society decided to preserve it – just in case.

    The Royal Society continues to do today what it set out to do all those years ago. Its members have split the atom, discovered the double helix, the electron, the computer and the World Wide Web. Truly international in its outlook, it has created modern science.

    Seeing Further celebrates its momentous history and achievements, bringing together the very best of science writing.

    NZ$30.00 + delivery.

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    By Richard Dunn. paperback, 0.18kg, 150mm x 210mm, full colour illustrations. Published 2016.
    With over two-thirds of the globe covered by water, the ability to navigate safely and quickly across the oceans has been crucial throughout human history. From the sixteenth century onwards, as seafarers attempted longer and longer voyages in search of profit and new lands, the tools of navigation became ever more sophisticated. The development of instruments over the last 500 years has seen some revolutionary changes, spurred on by the threat of disaster at sea and the possibility of huge rewards from successful voyages.
    As this book shows, the solution of the infamous longitude problem, the extraordinary impact f satellite positioning and other advances in navigation have successfully brought together seafarers, artisans and scientists in search of better ways of getting from A to B and back again.

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    WE, THE NAVIGATORS, The Ancient Art of Landfinding in the Pacific. Second Edition
    By David Lewis. Paperback. 0.64kg, 442 pages, 150mm x 230mm, black and white illustrations. Published 1994.
    This fascinating work describes the ancient art of land-finding in the Pacific. It tells how Polynesians used the stars, swell patterns, and phosphorescence caused by wave reflections from distant islands, wind, birds, clouds. This book is very readable and beautifully illustrated. In addition to navigational details, it explains why they sailed and how their craft were constructed.

    NZ$85.00 + Delivery.

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    THE GLASS UNIVERSE - The hidden history of the women who took the measure of the stars
    By Dava Sobel. Paperback, 0.27kgs, 200mm x 130mm, 324 pages, full colour and black & White illustrations. Published 2019 in this Edition.
    In the mid-nineteenth century, the Harvard College Observatory began employing women as calculators, or “human computers,” to interpret the observations made via telescope by their male counterparts each night. At the outset this group included the wives, sisters, and daughters of the resident astronomers, but by the 1880s the female corps included graduates of the new women's colleges—Vassar, Wellesley, and Smith. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, the ladies turned to studying the stars captured nightly on glass photographic plates. The “glass universe” of half a million plates that Harvard amassed in this period—thanks in part to the early financial support of another woman, Mrs. Anna Draper, whose late husband pioneered the technique of stellar photography—enabled the women to make extraordinary discoveries that attracted worldwide acclaim. They helped discern what stars were made of, divided the stars into meaningful categories for further research, and found a way to measure distances across space by starlight.

    Their ranks included Williamina Fleming, a Scottish woman originally hired as a maid who went on to identify ten novae and more than three hundred variable stars, Annie Jump Cannon, who designed a stellar classification system that was adopted by astronomers the world over and is still in use, and Dr. Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin, who in 1956 became the first ever woman professor of astronomy at Harvard—and Harvard’s first female department chair.

    Elegantly written and enriched by excerpts from letters, diaries, and memoirs, The Glass Universe is the hidden history of a group of remarkable women who, through their hard work and groundbreaking discoveries, disproved the commonly held belief that the gentler sex had little to contribute to human knowledge.

    NZ$35.00 + delivery.

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    By David Barrie. Paperback, 123mm x 195mm, 347 pages, Colour, black and white photographs. Published 2015
    This is the history and story of the instrument that changed the world. An eloquent elergy to celestial navigation.

    David Barrie tells how and why the sextant was invented: how offshore navigators depended on it for their lives in wild and uncharted waters: and how it played a vital role in the stirring history of exploration.

    Much of the Sextant is set amidst the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, where generations of explorers searched for the fabled Southern Continent and the North-West passage, eventually discovering Polynesia and charting the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Alaska. Stories of Captain Cook and the great French navigator La Perouse, (whose disappearance long remained a mystery), George Vancouver, Mathew Flinders and Captain Fitzroy of the Beagle. Great single-handed or open boat voyages feature with the heroic tales of Joshua Slocum, Captain Bligh and Ernest Shackleton.

    Interwoven with the author's account of his own transatlantic voyage in a small yacht, Sextant is a heady mix of adventure, science, mathematics and derring-do. Infused with a sense of wonder and discovery,this is a tribute to the sea and sky, the ships and the sailors, and the difference this instrument made to the world. A marvellous book and a great read.

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    By Dava Sobel, Pbk, 110mm x 175mm, 184 pages.
    Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest. The 'longitude problem' was the thorniest dilemma of the eighteenth century. Lacking the ability to measure longitude accurately, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea.
    At the heart of Dava Sobel's fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation and horology stands the figure of John Harrison, self taught Yorkshire clockmaker, and his forty-year obsession with building the perfect timekeeper. Battling against the establishment, Harrison stood alone in pursuit of his solution and the GBP20,000 reward offered by Parliament.

    NZ$25.00 + Delivery

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    By Nicolette Jones. Paperback. 416 pages, Black and White Images. 0.31kg Published 2007.
    The tale of the agitation led by Samuel Plimsoll MP, 'The Sailor's Friend', and by his wife Eliza, who worked together to defend sailors against nefarious practices including overloading and the use of unseaworthy 'coffin-ships'. The backlash of libel cases and vilification almost ruined Plimsoll, but his drive and passion made him feverishly popular with the public; he was the subject of plays, novels, street ballads and music hall songs. With the demonstrative support of the nation, he faced down his enemies, came close to ousting Disraeli's government and achieved lasting safety measures for merchant sailors, including the load line that bears his name. Nicolette Jones throws light on a cross-section of Victorian society and tells the story of an epic legal, social, and political battle for justice, which is still an inspiring example of how the altruism and courage of determined individuals can make the world a better place.

    NZ$35.00 + delivery.

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    By Charles Darwin. Pbk, 110mm x 180mm, 118 pages. 0.08kg. Orange Classic Published 2010

    No one has done more to shape our view of what makes us human than Charles Darwin, whose seismic theory of evolution turned the Victorian world upside down, utterly rewrote our notions of life on earth and is still attacked by religious creationists today.

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    See also: Polar Exploration, Nautical Dictionaries
    and Naval History

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