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Phantom islands of the Atlantic: the legends of seven lands that never wereUser Review - Book Verdict
Johnson is a maritime historian and sailor who has crossed the Atlantic five times in a 27' sailboat. His "phantom islands" were usually "discovered" after a storm or during a fog when the navigator was disoriented. Returning voyagers would associate their landfall with a legend and it would then appear on a contemporary map. The first chapter, "Mapping the Unknown Seas," establishes the kind of cartographic and navigational inaccuracies that affected the landfalls of the early explorers, including their inability to calculate longitude accurately, the effects of ocean currents, and magnitude deviations at the poles. For each of the seven islands--Isle of Demons, Frisland, Buss Island, Antilla, Hy-Brazil, Saint Ursula's Island, and the Islands of Saint Brendan--Johnson details the history of its discovery, its probable location, and the date it first appeared on maps. There are plenty of good stories here; a nice addition for public and academic collections.--John Kenny, San Francisco P.L.