This bibliography presents the life of Nathaniel Bowditch, a resident of Salem, Massachusetts during the second half of the eighteenth century. Although he was a mathematical genius, Nathaniel’s family could not afford to send him to school beyond the age of twelve. Instead, he worked as an indentured apprentice for nine years while teaching himself a variety of subjects, including Latin, French, navigation and astronomy. Bowditch eventually wrote the definitive work on navigation for sailors, used as a standard text in the US Naval Academy for over 150 years.
Latham has written a biography that should inspire young readers. Bowditch gains the respect of intellectuals and common sailors alike with his diligence and patience. Bowditch suffers great personal losses throughout his life, yet he never succumbs to self-pity. Rather, his life provides a wonderful example of the fruits of industriousness and perseverance in the face of adversity.
Jennifer Minicus is a former teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.