BOOKS of this character have presumably their use; and this particular one is neither worse nor better than many others which owe their being to the necessities of the examination room rather than to the wants of the practical navigator. Its table of contents is framed according to the schedule of the Board of Trade; and though it is spoken of in the preface as “adapted for use at sea,” Mr. Rosser has proved in other books that he knows it can be so considered only as an indirect compliment to the Board of Trade Examinations, which have been carefully devised so as to call for the greatest possible amount of cram and the smallest possible amount of real knowledge. The “Self-Instructor” has run through many editions, and no doubt answers the purpose of the author sufficiently well: it is, he says, essentially practical and not theoretical; though he omits to say that practical is to be understood as referring to what is wanted for the examination, and that theoretical refers to any reasoning or intelligent mode of working. It is not Mr. Rosser's fault that the examination is laid down on such clumsy and really unpractical lines; and what he has professed to do he has done fairly well: though it would be as well to expunge from future editions the symbol given on p. 2, for the “observed distance between the sun's near limb and the moon's far limb”; more especially if the symbol is to be used, as on p. 304, for a distance observed to the moon's near limb.
The Self-Instructor in Navigation and Nautical Astronomy for the Local Marine Board Examinations and for Use at Sea.
With numerous Examples, Illustrations, Diagrams, and Charts. By W. H. Rosser. New and Thoroughly Revised Edition. (London: Imray and Sons, 1885.)
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L., J. The Self-Instructor in Navigation and Nautical Astronomy for the Local Marine Board Examinations and for Use at Sea . Nature 31, 598–599 (1885). https://doi.org/10.1038/031598a0