Read The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale of How India was Mapped and Everest was Named by John Keay Free Online
Book Title: The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale of How India was Mapped and Everest was Named|
The author of the book: John Keay
Date of issue: 2001
ISBN 13: 9780007481170
City - Country: No data
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Format files: PDF
The size of the: 561 KB
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The Great Indian Arc of the Meridian, begun in 1800, was the longest measurement of the earth's surface ever to have been attempted. Its 1600 miles of inch-perfect survey took nearly fifty years, cost more lives than most contemporary wars, and involved equations more complex than any in the pre-computer age. Hailed as 'one of the most stupendous works in the history of science', it was one of the most perilous.
Through the hill and jungle, flood and fever, an intrepid band of surveyors carried the Arc from the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent up into the frozen wastes of Himalayas. William Lambton, an endearing genius, conceived the idea; George Everest, an impossible martinet, completed it. Both found the technical difficulties horrendous. With instruments weighing half a ton, their observations had often to be conducted from flimsy platforms ninety feet above the ground or from mountain peaks enveloped in blizzard. Malaria wiped out whole survey parties; tigers and scorpions took their toll.
Yet the results were commensurate. India as we now know it was defined in the process. The Arc also resulted in the first accurate measurement of the Himalayas, an achievement which was acknowledged by the naming of the world's highest mountain in honour of Everest. More important still, the Arc significantly advanced our knowledge if the exact shape of the our planet.
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Read information about the authorJohn Keay (born 1941) is an English journalist and author specialising in writing popular histories about India and the Far East, often with a particular focus on their colonisation and exploration by Europeans.
John Keay is the author of about 20 books, all factual, mostly historical, and largely to do with Asia, exploration or Scotland. His first book stayed in print for thirty years; many others have become classics. His combination of meticulous research, irreverent wit, powerful narrative and lively prose have invariably been complimented by both reviewers and readers.
UK-based and a full-time author since 1973, he also wrote and presented over 100 documentaries for BBC Radios 3 and 4 from 1975-95 and guest-lectured tour groups 1990-2000. He reviews on related subjects, occasionally speaks on them, and travels extensively.