Latitude

Nick Crane

The year is 1735.

They knew the world wasn't a sphere. Either it stretched at the poles or it bulged at the equator. But which? They needed to know because accurate maps saved lives at sea and made money on land. But measuring the earth was so difficult that most thought it impossible.

The world's first international team of scientists was sent to a continent of unmapped rainforests and ice-shrouded volcanoes where they attempted to measure the length on the ground of one degree of latitude. Beset by egos and disease, storms and earthquakes, mutiny and murder, they struggled for ten years to reach the single figure they sought.

Latitude is an epic story of survival and science set in mountain camps and remote observatories. It is also a story of exploration in which an unruly gaggle of misfits made breakthroughs in rubber and platinum, gravity and fogbows, quinine and Inca archaeology. A breathtaking tale of courage in adversity, it is celebrated today as the first modern exploring expedition.

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