Nat Bowditch was a great man from Salem, Massachusetts who lived in the late 1700’s. He loved to learn (especially math) and teach others. He was confident and persistent.

After his mothers death his father signed him up to work at the chandlery as an indentured servant.  He couldn’t leave for 7 years.  Now he couldn’t go to school like he wanted. He didn’t complain and he always did his best.

When he was on the ship he taught everybody navigation. He even learned a new way to work a lunar. He went through every single calculation in Moore’s book of navigation and he found errors in the book and he said mens lives depend on this book. There can’t be any errors and he was furious.


Overall, Nat Bowditch had a very difficult life – he lost a lot of people in his family and he never got to go to Harvard like he wanted to. But he still got to receive a degree from Harvard for his work with and book on navigation.

Elizabeth died when Nat went on a trip, and then he married Polly, and luckily Polly didn’t die.

I learned a lot from this book and Nat’s life: even when you go through hard times, you can choose to be happy.