Excerpt from The Mapmaker's Wife by Robert Whitaker, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Mapmaker's Wife

A True Tale of Love, Murder and Survival in the Amazon

by Robert Whitaker

The Mapmaker's Wife by Robert Whitaker X
The Mapmaker's Wife by Robert Whitaker
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2004, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2004, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Scholars in ancient Greece and other early civilizations believed that the earth was flat, which is how it appears to the untutored eye. The idea that the earth might be a sphere, freely floating in space, was first advanced in the sixth century B.C. by the Greek philosopher Pythagoras. Aristotle subsequently provided evidence for this notion. The height of the sun, he noted, changed as one traveled north or south. And that could only be so, he pointed out, if one were traveling along a curve that altered one's line of sight. He estimated that the earth's circumference was 400,000 stades (about 40,000 miles). Around 235 B.C., the Greek scholar Eratosthenes, who was head of the royal library in Alexandria, came up with a clever idea for actually calculating the earth's size. He had heard that there was a well in the town of Syene where the sun cast no shadow at noon on the summer solstice. That meant that the sun must be directly overhead at that moment. Alexandria was thought to be located directly north of Syene, and in Alexandria, at noon on the summer solstice, the sun cast a shadow equal to one-fiftieth of a circle (7.2 degrees). The distance between the two cities was thus one-fiftieth of the earth's circumference. Eratosthenes estimated the cities to be 5,000 stades apart-camel caravans traveling 100 stades a day took fifty days to travel from one city to the other-and thus he concluded that the earth's circumference was 250,000 stades.

From The Map Maker's Wife by Robert Whitaker. Copyright 2004 Robert Whitaker. All rights reserved.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Overstory
    The Overstory
    by Richard Powers
    Many glowing adjectives can be used to describe a novel by Richard Powers: brilliant, moving, ...
  • Book Jacket: American Histories
    American Histories
    by John E. Wideman
    In American Histories, a collection of 21 short stories, John Edgar Wideman draws America's present ...
  • Book Jacket: I Found My Tribe
    I Found My Tribe
    by Ruth Fitzmaurice
    Ruth O'Neill was only 28 when she married film director Simon Fitzmaurice in 2004. Changing her...
  • Book Jacket: The Art of the Wasted Day
    The Art of the Wasted Day
    by Patricia Hampl
    Patricia Hampl wants you to know that daydreaming is not a waste of a day. Nor is spending time ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Music of the Ghosts by Vaddey Ratner

A love story for things lost and restored, a lyrical hymn to the power of forgiveness.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Girl Who Smiled Beads
    by Clemantine Wamariya & Elizabeth Weil

    A riveting story of survival, and the power of stories to save us.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Leavers

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

One of the most anticipated books of 2017--now in paperback!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T E H N Clothes

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.