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Kathleen San Martino
- Publié sur Amazon.com
The author of this book died in 1957 but the estate of Harold Gatty chose to publish this guide. In my opinion, this was a wise decision as this is an absolutely phenomenal book.
The author, who was an accomplished navigator, describes how to use the wind, sky, clouds, sun, shadows, reflection in the sky, trees, animals, termite mounds, etc. to determine direction (north, south, east, or west). Also, he makes it clear that no part of the world is without signals--whether it be desert, the Arctic, the sea, Antarctica, etc. It is clear that we as a society have lost our quick ability to observe what nature is telling us. This is not a "how to" book; instead the author explains through stories and examples of how previous explorers found their way and how he has done so as well.
In addition to using natural surroundings, he also describes how to navigate your way through towns and cities by determining direction based on the way a house was placed or where the kitchen is. The reason you can do this is that certain regions face their houses toward the sun or toward the wind - it depends on the place.
Of course, this book will only guide you and it is not designed to be your only reference source as the observer must learn the prevailing details associated with their area, such as from which way the prevailing winds blow, before they can be a successful navigator. Mr. Gatty ecouranges you to pay attention to your surroundings and to pick out directional details from everything in your environment (including insects or houses). In a beginning example in the book, he describes how he can tell where a picture was taken, at what time of day, and which direction the house is facing. For instance, in the picture the shadow of the tree is at the base of the tree indicating it's around noon.
Since the author travelled extensively, he was well versed in navigating in almost any terrain and describes his techniques well in a scholarly sort of way. I know that as a result of this guide, I will be paying more attention to what nature is telling me and the natural details typical of my area. I will also pay attention to man-made details such as the way houses are positioned in a specific area of the country. For fun, I will also try to determine what information I can gleam from pictures alone.
You might ask yourself, can I navigate in an unknown never seen land just by reading this book? I think you can navigate somewhat as a result of reading this book. However, to truly be successful with the techniques he describes, in my opinion, you must learn a little bit about what is typical in the area--the birds, winds, etc. Despite this, I feel this book is priceless especially for those who don't want to rely on technology to get around!