Independent Publishers Best Science Book, 1999

Taking the Stars
Celestial Navigation from
Argonauts to Astronauts
by Peter Ifland
Published by The Mariners' Museum
Newport News, Virginia and
The Krieger Publishing Company, Florida

Here is the definitive work on the history of one of humankind's greatest achievements - the capability to find one's way home safe and dry, guided by the stars. The book tells the story of the development of the octants and sextants navigators have used to observe the heavenly bodies. The story spans 1,000 years, from the Arab's kamal to Gemini IV's space sextant.

Taking the Stars is 240 pages with 198 illustrations; 120 are color photographs. It is written in an easy-to-read style. It will be of interest to the backyard navigator, the collector, the dealer or the curator of scientific instruments; the yachter, or to anyone who has ever held a sextant in their hand and marveled at its elegantly functional simplicity.  A special chapter deals with aircraft navigation instruments.

 "Peter Ifland has produced a wonderfully readable and remarkably thorough account of the history of sextants and other instruments for celestial navigation."
Deborah Jean Warner, Curator, Physical Sciences,
National Museum of American History,
   Smithsonian Institution

"Dr. Ifland's evidence and information is presented on three levels through superbly detailed photographs of  the instruments, via documentary history of their development, and in lucid and comprehensive instructions for the practical use of each instrument."
 Allan Chapman, Wardham College, Oxford.

        "Taking the Stars" is now out of print and is no longer available.