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Jocelyn Bain Hogg

CHRISTINE GARWOOD has a BA in history and a PhD in the history of science. She was formerly a research fellow at the Open University, where she was principal archivist on the Wallace Project. A part-time lecturer at University College Northampton (University of Leicester), she is the author of several articles on Alfred Russel Wallace and on Victorian and Edwardian science and society more generally. She now lives in London and works as a freelance writer and researcher. 

Featured titles

The History of an Infamous Idea

An entertaining rogues' gallery of Victorian eccentrics and modern-day fundamentalists – NATURAL HISTORY magazine

Entertaining and wry history... Through her dispassionate look at these flouters of scientific convention, Garwood makes a timely case for the perils of mixing science with faith – SUNDAY TIMES


Impressive research – NEW SCIENTIST

A fascinating study of the relationship between science and religion. The real charm lies in her colourful depictions of the Flat Earthers – TELEGRAPH

An energetic, all-inclusive and amusing account of man’s impressive capacity for self-delusion. Every creationist should read it – Steve Jones, author of LANGUAGE OF THE GENES

A quirky and highly entertaining slice of intellectual history… elicits plentiful laughter and astonishment – SUNDAY TIMES

Highly entertaining and often hilarious – SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

Prodigiously researched, 'Flat Earth' is a fascinating study of the power of ideas – GUARDIAN

A thoroughly enjoyable first book... Respectful throughout – PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Social and intellectual history at its best – and strangest.

Contrary to popular belief, fostered in countless school classrooms the world over, Christopher Columbus did not discover that the world was round. The idea of the world as a sphere had been widely accepted in scientific, philosophical and even religious circles from as early as the fourth century bc. Yet, bizarrely, it was not until the supposedly more rational nineteenth century that the notion that the world might actually be flat really took hold. Even more bizarrely, it persists to this day, despite Apollo missions and widely publicized pictures of the decidedly spherical earth from space.

Meticulously researched and compellingly readable, Christine Garwood provides the first definitive account of this ‘infamous idea’. She explodes the myths surrounding Columbus and the battles between science and religion, explores the wilder shores of flat-earth belief and establishes, without doubt, that the world is most emphatically not flat.

From Samuel ‘Parallax’ Rowbotham and his slick advocacy of Zetetic – or free-thinking – astronomy to Darwin’s friend and collaborator Alfred Russel Wallace, and his wager with the flat-earther John Hampden; from Lady Blount’s earnest pamphleteering in the flat-earth’s cause to Wilbur Glenn Voliva’s belief that there was no such thing as gravity; from the English Flat Earth Society’s campaign against the Apollo missions to the work of sister organizations in America and Canada, FLAT EARTH is a remarkable study of strange obsessions and sometimes stranger individuals. Thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating, it is social and intellectual history at its best.

Publisher: Macmillan (UK)/Thomas Dunne (US)
Pub Date: 20 April 2007 (UK)/Autumn 2008 (US)
Length: 436 pages

All rights available excluding:
UK & Commonwealth, US, Greece (Travlos)