Discussion: FitzRoy, the Remarkable Story of Darwin’s Captain and the Invention of the Weather Forecast by John and Mary Gribbin

There was general agreement the Book needed editing and more than the single outline map it includes.  Unfortunately it makes the case against self-publication.

It was felt some of the differences between assessments represented different measures of the score to award, as much as different evaluations of the Book itself. Leonard & Peter were inclined to mark lower than others, who were generally more generous in their marking. Tracey confirmed she had been as influenced in awarding 7 out of 10 by what she had taken from the novel, “The Thing of Darkness”, which covers similar ground. Ruth said she tended to judge Books on whether the targets of exposition set by the authors had been met, Peter & Leonard more by the author’s literary style/ voice than a Book’s contents.

Wendy was affronted by FitzRoy’s supposed support for slavery. Christopher liked the moral position FitzRoy adopted as a supporter of the Christian Missionary Society, exactly what Peter disliked.

Leonard felt more should have been made of FitzRoy’s mental state. He thought FitzRoy suffered from burn out and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) which Leonard didn’t define. (We were expected to know!). Tracey speculated, if FitzRoy had taken modern medication to manage his conditions, that this might have reduced his undoubted creativity & technical exactness. Leonard, as a doctor, agreed with this. 

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