Compass: A Story of Exploration and Innovation

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 91%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (44) from $1.99   
  • New (3) from $30.00   
  • Used (41) from $1.99   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New York, NY 2004 Hard cover First Edition. A beautiful copy in a brodart dust jacket cover. Glued binding. Paper over boards. 320 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: ... General/trade. Stated: First Edition. Full Number Line Read more Show Less

Ships from: San Diego, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:


Condition: New

Ships from: Chicago, IL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:


Condition: New
2004 Hardcover New 0393050734. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened--320 page, 20 illus., 8vo.

Ships from: New Hampton, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by


"This is the history of the most important navigational device of all time, the magnetic compass, born of the need for a reliable means of navigating treacherous sea routes around the globe. Compass chronicles the misadventures of those who attempted to perfect the instrument - so precious to sixteenth-century seamen that by law, any man found tampering with it had his hand pinned to the mast with a dagger." Compass is organized in loosely chronological order - with detours for particularly significant people or topics - in twenty-one short chapters.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
British writer, photographer and yacht designer Gurney (The Race to the White Continent) sets his sights on the events leading to the invention Victor Hugo called "the soul of the ship." Centuries ago, a sailor's directional aids were winds and vision. Until the compass was developed in the 12th century, maps and charts could not be used with accuracy, but "the path from lodestone to global positioning systems has been a tortuous one... marked by wrecks and sailors' bones." Gurney begins with the Scilly Islands catastrophe of 1707, when "shoddy compasses" led to the death of 2,000 men in "the worst shipwreck disaster ever suffered by the Royal Navy." Early discoveries that lodestone could magnetize a needle were followed by a parade of devices and experiments. With the circumnavigation of the globe in 1522, "the whole world was magically transformed into an oyster for traders... explorers, and mariners: an oyster ready and waiting to be opened, not with a sword, but by a compass needle." In 1901, the magnetic compass was "unseated from its throne" by the gyrocompass, yet Gurney concludes by noting that despite 20th-century technological upgrades, the magnetic compass remains "a fail-safe measure." An appendix itemizes deviations of the compass needle from the magnetic north; the 20 illustrations include maps, charts, compass cards and woodcuts. Bibliographic notes filling 24 pages indicate Gurney's exhaustive research for this engaging foray into vistas and voyages of the past. (June 28) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393050738
  • Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
  • Publication date: 5/19/2004
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.66 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Gurney is a former yacht designer and photographer living in Suffolk, England. His previous books include Compass and Race to the White Continent.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Dead reckoning 19
Ch. 2 Needle and stone 31
Ch. 3 The rose of the winds 41
Ch. 4 Variation and dip 55
Ch. 5 Edmond Halley, polymath 69
Ch. 6 To compass the globe 77
Ch. 7 Halleyan lines 87
Ch. 8 Dr. Gowin Knight and his magnetic machine 99
Ch. 9 Knight's compass 109
Ch. 10 The shocks of tempestuous seas 119
Ch. 11 Any old iron, any old iron 135
Ch. 12 The book of bearings 149
Ch. 13 The Flinders bar 161
Ch. 14 Soft iron, hard iron 175
Ch. 15 "An evil so pregnant with mischief" 187
Ch. 16 Deviation, the hydra-headed monster 199
Ch. 17 The "inextricable entangled web" 211
Ch. 18 Gray's binnacle 225
Ch. 19 Thomson's compass and binnacle 235
Ch. 20 The selling of a compass 247
Ch. 21 A question of liquidity 261
Epilogue : from needle to spinning top 273
App Deviation 277
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)