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Naturalists at Sea: Scientific Travellers from Dampier to Darwin Hardcover – October 22, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“An extraordinary and entertaining catalog of maritime and scientific endeavor.”—Michael Fathers, The Wall Street Journal

(Michael Fathers The Wall Street Journal)

 “An erudite and beautifully illustrated work, Naturalists at Sea wears its learning lightly, and conveys to non-specialists an array of fascinating details about explorers and naturalists, familiar and not-so-familiar, quoting judiciously from their journals and post-voyage publications . . . every page testifies to the indomitable vitality of both explorers and naturalists.”—Andrew Robinson, Nature
(Andrew Robinson Nature 2013-10-10)

“This fascinating tale is told across time, ships, captains and crews, and the countries that sent or received these scientific travelers, naturalists who brought their skills and weaknesses to documenting the natural world during the Enlightenment and beyond. Williams. . . does all the hard work of making these lives and adventures comprehensible.”—Library Journal
(Library Journal)

"[A] fascinating work . . . This well-illustrated book will interest a wide audience."—Choice
(Choice)

“This gripping account of scientific travellers in the 18th and 19th centuries reveals that despite the importance placed on their work by governments, relations between boffins and crews were often fraught.”—Christopher Hirst, The Independent
(Christopher Hirst Independent 2015-12-19)

About the Author

Glyn Williams is emeritus professor of history, University of London. He is the author of more than a dozen books on European voyages of exploration.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (October 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030018073X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300180732
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #972,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is a fascinating recounting of the role of about ten naturalists who were on voyages to the far reaches of the earth from that by William Dampier in 1679 to Charles Darwin 1836. Naturalists often accompanied voyages of exploration. In the early voyages, they had minimal space for their collections, and they were lucky if their collections made it to Europe. Often they had associates who would make drawings of the flora or fauna they found. Many times the expeditions met with the indigenous inhabitants, sometimes with positive outcomes, sometimes not. The naturalists were lucky if they could publish reports of their findings before they died. In several cases, the plates of their drawings were only published in the past two decades. By the time Darwin accompanied the Beagle, the value of naturalists was generally recognized, and Darwin had the full support of Captain Robert FitzRoy.
My interest in the book was heightened since I was a NASA atmospheric scientist who went on many airborne field missions to the ends of the earth from 1990 to 2002, visiting many of the Pacific islands visited by the early naturalists. The scientists were in charge of the missions, and the natives were friendly. Our scientific findings were published within two years of our missions. Times have changed.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting collection of intelligent men during dangerous and valuable research in the vast and largely unknown Pacific.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A comprehensive inventory of scientific voyaging, but the storytelling element in the writing is missing. Nathaniel Philbrick is better at relating these kinds of stories.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Sometimes tedious, but fascinating nevertheless
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By SL on December 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Enjoyed it thoroughly; well written .
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