Regular price: $19.93

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

An exciting scientific adventure from the days of wooden ships and iron men, Longitude is full of heroism and chicanery, brilliance and the absurd. It is also a captivating brief history of astronomy, navigation and clockmaking.

During the great ages of exploration, "the longitude problem" was the gravest of all scientific challenges. Lacking the ability to determine their longitude, sailors were literally lost at sea as soon as they lost sight of land. Ships ran aground on rocky shores; those traveling well-known routes were easy prey to pirates.

In 1714, England's Parliament offered a huge reward to anyone whose method of measuring longitude could be proven successful. The scientific establishment--from Galileo to Sir Isaac Newton--had mapped the heavens in its certainty of a celestial answer. In stark contrast, one man, John Harrison, dared to imagine a mechanical solution--a clock that would keep precise time at sea, something no clock had been able to do on land. And the race was on....

©2005 Dava Sobel (P)2009 Random House

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    284
  • 4 Stars
    169
  • 3 Stars
    70
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    8

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    235
  • 4 Stars
    139
  • 3 Stars
    65
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    5

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    268
  • 4 Stars
    119
  • 3 Stars
    55
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    5
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

To hear Neil Armstongs Voice

Any additional comments?

To really absorb this story I would recommend seeing the movie first, so you can put faces to the names in this great historical event. Dava's love of the subject is well written and read well. Hearing the prologue from Neil Armstrong about his love of the stars and his on quest to see the real clocks in England is thrilling in its self. I was a young teenager when he walked on the moon, and only know his famous words. If you have any maritime experience or any kind of navigational interest this is a must read for the knowledge it contains!

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Masterful.

Longitude is a superb book about the quest to solve one of the most difficult scientific challenges of the 17th and 18th centuries, and one, moreover, that caused thousands of deaths.

Kate Reading's narration is accurate and clear, and lends itself well to the story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

navigators gem

thoroughly enjoyed this work. recommended reading. will look forward to reading again. thank you John Harrison!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 08-29-13

The finding of Longitude

I had listened to a podcast of an author interview of Dava Sobel on Writers and Company from CBC radio. She was mostly talking about her interest in astronomy and how it led to writing about interesting people in astronomy history. This book is about the contest started by the British government to find an accurate way to determine longitude. They could already determine latitude. Too many ships were being lost and men lost so it was vital do find a better way to navigate the seas. Sobel tells the story of John Harrison and his clocks. Apparently at the time there were two methods being explored: the tracking of moon and stares and the method of time. As usual the two methods fought each other and sabotage one another so it makes for an interesting story. Both methods were used and still are used today even with the use of GPS. Neil Armstrong gave the opening which was very interesting. Kate Reading did a good job with the narration of the story. If you are interested in navigation, history or science this is a book for you.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

excellent book. really. beautiful.

loved this book. it was elegant in delivery beautiful in concept. the story very compelling.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating!

This is one of the audio books that is done right. Great story and great performance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Buzz
  • Scottsdale, AZ, United States
  • 07-09-12

Disappointing

Many years ago, I visited the Royal Observatory Greenwich and was fascinated by the exhibits of John Harrison's clocks and their importance to navigation. "Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time" tells the remarkable story of the clock's inventor, John Harrison. While the story is itself fascinating, Dava Sobel is a poor writer and the book reads something like a high school textbook. Fortunately, the book is short and the facts of Harrison's life carry the day. Unfortunately, the reader is so poor that she distracts from the book.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great listen for technical types!<br />

Who knew the first nautical timepieces were hand built watches! Fascinating for the weekly commute!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

innovation in an institution with strong encumbant

This book presents an informative telling of the struggles of the inventor of a chronograph that is precise and accurate enough to determine location on earth. Everyone interested in attempting to introduce revolutionary technology to large organizations should read this book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A story I will remember for years

I doubt I will forget why the Longitude is so important and when reading books published in that time period of uncertainty i will understand their references better.