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Christine Garwood

Flat Earth

Many people think that Columbus discovered the world was round. You need to get one thing straight - this is a myth. People knew that the earth was round thousands of years before Columbus. Christine Garwood explains this in the first couple of chapters of Flat Earth: the history of an infamous idea

But Columbus finally removed any lingering doubt, yes? Well, as the rest of the book shows, there have been people who thought the world was flat even in recent times, in fact the idea had something of a resurgence in the 19th Century. We hear of the publications of 'Parallax' and of the wager between John Hampden (who argued for a flat earth) and Alfred Russell Wallace - Wallace won, but still found himself hundreds of pounds out of pocket. Into the 20th century there was Lady Blount, Zion City and even into the space age there were those who seriously believed the earth was flat (as well as many who weren't so serious).

The book is well researched and a entertaining read. I found that it gives a valuable insight into some people fixate on an idea and won't recognise any evidence against it - and of the problems of trying to argue with such people.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 448 pages  
ISBN: 0312382081
Salesrank: 1255691
Weight:1.5 lbs
Published: 2008 Thomas Dunne Books
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 448 pages  
ISBN: 0330432893
Salesrank: 1014535
Weight:0.71 lbs
Published: 2008 Pan
Marketplace::Used from £2.58
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 448 pages  
ISBN: 0330432893
Salesrank: 1330866
Weight:0.71 lbs
Published: 2008 PAN Macmillan Adult
Marketplace::Used from CDN$ 2.79
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Product Description

Contrary to popular belief fostered in countless school classrooms the world over, Christopher Columbus did not discover that the earth was round. The idea of a spherical world had been widely accepted in educated circles from as early as the fourth century b.c. Yet, bizarrely, it was not until the supposedly more rational nineteenth century that the notion of a ?at earth really took hold. Even more bizarrely, it persists to this day, despite Apollo missions and widely publicized pictures of the decidedly spherical Earth from space.

            Based on a range of original sources, Garwood’s history of ?at-Earth beliefs---from the Babylonians to the present day---raises issues central to the history and philosophy of science, its relationship to religion and the making of human knowledge about the natural world. Flat Earth is the ?rst de?nitive study of one of history’s most notorious and persistent ideas, and it evokes all the intellectual, philosophical, and spiritual turmoil of the modern age. Ranging from ancient Greece, through Victorian England, to modern-day America, this is a story that encompasses religion, science, and pseudoscience, as well as a spectacular array of people and places. Where else could eccentric aristocrats, fundamentalist preachers, and conspiracy theorists appear alongside Copernicus, Newton, and NASA, except in an account of such a legendary misconception?

Thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating, Flat Earth is social and intellectual history at its best.