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The Riddle of the Compass: The Invention that Changed the World

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2010

    AP World History Review: I thought that the Riddle of the Compass: The Invention That Changed the World is an interesting book. The thing that I liked about it is that how it went deep in the information about how the compass originated and was used.

    My impression of the Riddle of the Compass: The Invention That Changed the World was that is looks like an interesting book. After I read it, I liked how the author added information about how people used the compass, what was invented before the compass that was similar, how it changed, and other such alluring aspects. The author's purpose was to tell the reader about how the compass was invented from one place to another and how it worked overall. Amir D. Aczel, the author, achieved his purpose. When he was a kid he sailed with his father because he was a captain on a ship. Therefore, he has some insight of what it was like to use the compass from when he was a little kid. Aczel does not write the book until he gets older, but he sailing with his dad is what inspired him to write this book. Aczel achieves his purpose of writing the book because he also does a ton of research in order to go in deep about the information. Thus, I think that Aczel completes his purpose perfectly. I would only recommend this book to people who want more background information on the compass. The Riddle of the Compass does not cover many historical aspects such as empires, social structures, and political and economic philosophies. This book talks more about how people used the compass, modified it, and how it improved over time. It even talks about the magnetic fields of Earth and how the compass used them.

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  • Posted September 1, 2010

    Common technology, amazing history

    The look of the world changed. For one thing, the prevailing view went from a flat world to a globe as circumnavigation, made possible by the compass, proved that mariners would not fall off the edge. For another, the Age of Exploration expanded global knowledge of foreign places and goods. In short, the compass initiated globalization -- of knowledge, commerce, and genetics. But if you want to find out who invented it and where, read the book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2009

    AP World History

    The compass' invention took place over a long time and it evolved from China to the rest of the world. However, as a device for marine navigation the Amalfi compass was definitely the first major improvement. The author also explains how after the invention of the compass, the creation of the Wind Rose improved navigation even more. The results were better of trade and travel, the beginning of industrialization and the rise of huge empires.

    If the author's purpose was to educate people about the impact of the compass, then he succeeded. I never knew how much impact the compass had on the world, trade, and travel. The Chinese used it in feng shui. The travels of Marco Polo were affected by the compass and much better sea maps were developed. For a student trying to learn more about this era it would be a waste of time though because it focuses on the compass and doesn't tell us much about politics or economics just how the compass impacted things.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2002

    A good read

    I have a great interest in the progess of how instrumentation came about for navigation. When I opened this book and read the first chapter," I bought it ". The book explains on how the compass came to be with the trials and errors along the way. After reading it, I still have yet to wonder who may have discovered it first. This book is definately an interesting read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2002

    A Great Short Story of Invention

    It was the nature of the compass that its invention took place over a long time, from ancient times to the middle ages, and its design evolved from China to the Mediterranean. However, as a reliable device for navigation in the open seas the Amalfi compass was undoubtedly the first major breakthrough. This fascinating story of invention over centuries, in many countries, by mostly unknown inventors and navigators, is told superbly by Arik Aczel in this most readable book. The author also explains briefly how following invention of the compass, the development of the Wind Rose improved navigation even more. The result was world exploration, expansion of trade and travel, the dawn of industrialization and the rise of global empires.

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