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Short Synopsis
Navigation is the key human skill. It's something we do everywhere, whether feeling our way through a bedroom in the dark or charting a ship's course. But how does navigation affect our brains, our memory, ourselves?

Full Synopsis
In 1844, George Michelsen Foy's great-great grandfather, captain of a Norwegian cargo ship, perished at sea after getting lost in a snowstorm. Foy decides to unravel the mystery surrounding Halvor Michelsen's death—and the roots of his own obsession with navigation—by re-creating his ancestor's trip using only period instruments.

Beforehand, he meets a colorful cast of characters to learn whether men really have better directional skills than women; how cells, eels, and spaceships navigate; and how tragedy results from GPS glitches. He interviews a cabby who has memorized every street in London, sails on a Haitian cargo sloop, and visits the site of a secret navigational cult in Greece.

At the heart of Foy's story is this fact: navigation and the brain's memory centers are inextricably linked. As Foy unravels the secret behind Halvor's death, he also discovers why forsaking our navigation skills in favor of GPS may lead not only to Alzheimer's and other diseases of memory, but to losing a key part of what makes us human.

"Voyagers of all kinds will cherish this book." ---Paul Raeburn, author of The Game Theorist's Guide to Parenting

"[A] voyage that is both personal and expansive, exploring how navigation works and its meaning in people's lives." ---Andrew Johnston, author of Time and Navigation and Earth from Space

"GPS's cultural and psychological significance is at the core of George Michelsen Foy's Finding North... [and] the questions he worries at are important ones." ---Wall Street Journal

"Zingarelli's good-natured reading blends well with Foy's exploration of topics like the Air Force's GPS secrets and the London cabbies' renowned memory test." ---AudioFile

Finding North

How Navigation Makes Us Human

Author George Michelsen Foy

Narrated by Tom Zingarelli

Publication date May 10, 2016

Running time 8 hrs

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