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David Barrie was for many years in the Diplomatic Service, and has held many distinguished posts since then. He is a passionate and dedicated sailor and was inspired to write this book in homage to the remarkable people who brought celestial navigation to perfection, and to the generations of mariners who put the sextant to such good use in charting the world's oceans. He lives in West London.
`As lovingly and painstakingly constructed as the navigators' one irreplaceable talisman, this exquisite book is a hymn to a now-vanishing feature of maritime life, a finely-chased reminder of just how much we all owe to that one small piece of apparatus, its verniers and lenses kept secure in a mahogany box, closed by a hasp of brass' Simon Winchester `Barrie's writing is exhilarating and suffused with a sense of adventure. A fascinating read' Financial Times `What gives Sextant its special colour is Barrie's own experience as a sailor ... His book is an elegy for the days before GPS made simultaneous geniuses and idiots of us all ... He invites anyone near the sea, and above all on a boat, to turn away from their screens and look around' Daily Express `A bracing historical tale' The Times `A joy to read ... one of the most interesting and enjoyable books I've read in years' Flying Fish, magazine of the Ocean Cruising Club `It gives the reader the idea that he is having a conversation with someone who knows his subject intimately, but wears the knowledge lightly... The end result is a work that is a useful history of astro, and an excellent introduction to some of the great names in exploration. An excellent present for anyone even vaguely interested in the stars, or the history of exploration, or sailing small boats over big oceans, or come to think of it anyone at all. And buy a copy for yourself while you're about it' Marine Quarterly