The Riddle of the Compass

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The secrets of science meet the drama of the high seas. Amir D. Aczel, the distinguished science writer, turns detective as he uncovers the fascinating story of the invention of the compass. It's a fabulous tale of Chinese lodestones directing the building of palaces and ancient mariners following the flights of birds to reach their destinations.

The arrival of the compass in Europe and an understanding of its potential revolutionized trade in the Mediterranean and ushered in the great Age of Exploration. Tracking down the roots of the compass and telling the story of navigation through the ages, Aczel instructs and charms as never before.

Amir Aczel is known for his ability to write delightful books about hard topics in math and science. And this is the book he was born to write. Raised on ocean liners by his ship's-captain father, the young Aczel stood at the helm and steered ships though the Mediterranean. His experience adds depth and resonance to the telling of this terrific story.

Executive Producer: Jacob Bronstein
Producer: John Wager
Produced by arrangement with Harcourt, Inc.
Original Jacket Photographs by (top) Kim Westerskov/Stone and Barry Marcus/FPG International
Original Jacket Design by Claudine Guerguerian
Author photograph by Debra Gross Aczel
©2001 by Amir Aczel
(P)2001 Random House, Inc.

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