Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea

Front Cover
Macmillan, Aug 5, 2008 - History - 436 pages
10 Reviews

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.

  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MiaCulpa - LibraryThing

I saw this book in a remainders bin and grabbed it, looking forward to a humorous review of eccentrics and their belief in a flat earth. This book didn't really live up to the self-induced hype ... Read full review

Review: Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea

User Review  - Zbhall - Goodreads

Caught between pop-history fun and the nitty-gritty facts. Too dull for the former and missing too big of gaps for the latter (too much focus on a few individuals). Meh. Not really worth the time. Read full review

Contents

Prologue The Columbus Blunder
1
Two A Public Sensation
36
Three The Infamous Flatearth Wager
79
Four Trials and Tribulations
118
Five Lady Blount and the New Zetetics
154
Six Flatearth Utopia
188
Seven Man on the Moon?
219
Eight The View from the Edge
280
Nine The Californian Connection
350
Appendix
363
Abbreviations
372
Bibliography
401
Index
424
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Christine Garwood studied history as an undergraduate and was later awarded a doctorate in history of science. She has been a Research Fellow at the Open University and is currently a freelance writer and researcher.

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