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Publisher's Summary

A gripping tale of exploration aboard H.M.S. Challenger, an expedition that laid the foundations for modern oceanography.  

From late 1872 to 1876, H.M.S. Challenger explored the world's oceans. Conducting deep sea soundings, dredging the ocean floor, recording temperatures, observing weather, and collecting biological samples, the expedition laid the foundations for modern oceanography. Following the ship's naturalists and their discoveries, earth scientist Doug Macdougall engagingly tells a story of Victorian-era adventure and ties these early explorations to the growth of modern scientific fields.  

In this lively story of adventure, hardship, and humor, Macdougall examines the work of the expedition's scientists, especially the naturalist Henry Moseley, who rigorously categorized the flora and fauna of the islands the ship visited, and the legacy of John Murray, considered the father of modern oceanography. Macdougall explores not just the expedition itself but also the iconic place that H.M.S. Challenger has achieved in the annals of ocean exploration and science.

©2019 Doug Macdougall (P)2019 Tantor

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  • subrookie
  • 05-09-2019

Good but could have been better

I had some struggles with this book. I appreciate the subject matter but it seems like it was written from the perspective of a natural scientist rather than a historian. I would have liked a more linear, journal like approach to the Challenger expedition. This author jumped around a lot and I had trouble keeping interest because of that.

That's not to say I didn't learn anything, I did, but I felt it may have been more interesting had the author told the story from beginning of the voyage to the end. Instead it was more like a string of scientific anecdotes depending on species they were studying.

Full disclosure here I read a lot of books written by Royal Navy officers at sea and they write voyages in a start to finish manor. This is not that kind of book, and why I struggled.

2 people found this helpful

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