The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale Of How India Was Mapped And Everest Was Named narrates the story of the extensive surveying of the Indian subcontinent by William Lambton and George Everest.
Summary Of The Book
The Great Trigonometric Survey of India was a huge project which involved the surveying and mapping of the Indian subcontinent and took over sixty years to complete. The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale Of How India Was Mapped And Everest Was Named tells the story of the first thirty years of the project under the leadership of William Lambton and then, George Everest.
The team conducting the survey had to face enormous hardships. They had to travel through the difficult terrain of the Indian subcontinent including dense jungles infested with wild animals and malaria causing mosquitoes, and dangerous mountains. The calculations were extremely complex, and an enormous instrument called the Theodolite had to be carried through the difficult land. The measurements had to be taken by building huge scaffoldings and required massive manpower and huge amounts of patience.
John Keay describes William Lambton and George Everest with flair. He relates the story of how George Everest had Mount Everest named after himself. The complicated procedures of geographical calculation and surveying are simplified for average readers to read.
The narrative is made insightful by John Keay’s own travels through the surveyed land. He describes the difficulty he faced while looking for the lost tomb of William Lambton in Central India. The Trigonometric Survey of the Indian Subcontinent was a great achievement for the British Empire. It not only helped them in mapping a terrain they were economically interested in, it also was a huge achievement for science and a scientific breakthrough in it’s time. The Great Arc: The Dramatic Tale Of How India Was Mapped And Everest Was Named, in narrating the process of this survey, reiterates the important place this has in history.
About John Keay
John Keay is an English writer and journalist.
Other books by John Keay include Into India, When Men and Mountains Meet, The Gilgit Game, Eccentric Travellers, Indonesia: From Sabang to Merauke, The Spice Route: A History, China: A History, Last Post: The End of Empire in the Far East, and Explorers Extraordinary.
John Keay, born in 1941, studied Modern History at Oxford University. In 1965, he visited India for the first time and kept returning multiple times after this. He was a journalist for The Economist and has written and presented many shows for BBC Radio, and has written over 20 books.
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Best book to know how India was mapped
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