Tracks in the Sea: Matthew Fontaine Maury and the Mapping of the Oceans

by Chester G. Hearn, McGraw Hill, 2002, ISBN0071368264, 288 pages.
Maury was born a Virginia farm boy in 1806. His rather restrictive father expected his son to become a farmer. Instead the self educated Maury went on the to be recognized throughout the scientific and maritime worlds for his contributions to such diverse fields as the plotting of ocean winds and currents conversion to the metric system and the laying of the first Trans oceanic cable. Paramount in his career was his appointment as first superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory. Held at the lowly rank of Lieutenant for years, Maury ‘s accomplishments in the field of naval navigation endeared him to many mariners while creating jealousy among others. This biography makes for fascinating reading about a man and his influence of the development of ocean charts that had a direct impact on both the United States and the rest of the world.

Chuck Gray
From Society’s June 2003 Newsletter