Sailing School
Meet the Navigators Who Traversed
the Early Modern Oceans, and the
Men Who Trained Them…

Sailing School: Navigating Science and Skill, 1550-1800
Margaret E. Schotte’s “original, perceptive, and scholarly” comparative study focuses on early modern navigators and their contributions to modern science. Sailing School investigates how early modern sailors developed mathematical and technical expertise in the age of exploration and the print revolution. Schotte’s monograph draws upon hundreds of dog-eared textbooks and salt-stained student manuscripts to recreate the experience of learning to sail, a complex apprenticeship that took place not only on board ship but in small classrooms in Europe’s port communities.  Sailing School brings together the eccentric teachers, inventive entrepreneurs, ambitious politicos and a host of anonymous sailors to give us a new picture of what it meant to be an expert navigator at a time when knowledge of the natural world was undergoing dramatic shifts–and how these experts in turn contributed to the development of scientific practice in their local communities and beyond.

“essential reading for historians of education and of science, [and] of maritime culture”
– Simon Schaffer (University of Cambridge)
“an outstanding, highly original piece of scholarship”
– Pamela O. Long (MacArthur Fellow)
“enjoyable and enlightening”
– Richard Dunn (Royal Museums Greenwich)
“the first truly transnational history of nautical training”
– Karel Davids (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Now Available!
Order via Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Support local bookstores by ordering via Indie Bound. Order directly from Johns Hopkins University Press and save 20% [now 30%!] with code HTWN.

Canadian friends, good news! York’s bookstore has copies in stock, Ben McNally Books will order it for you, and it is now available via !

British/European orders via Oxford Publicity.
Contact Me
Dept. of History, York University

2138 Vari Hall, 4700 Keele Street

Toronto, ON  M3J 1P3  Canada

Learn more about Margaret Schotte’s research and teaching.