Digest>Archives> Nov/Dec 2013

Book Reviews

By Timothy Harrison


The History of the Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Every so often a small booklet is published that not only provides in in-depth history of a lighthouse, but also directly helps to raise money for the lighthouse. Such is the case with the booklet, A History of the Sheringham Point Lighthouse that was done by Rebecca Quinn in collaboration with the Sheringham Point Lighthouse Preservation Society and published with the generous assistance of the Juan de Fuca Economic Development commission.

Built in 1912, the 64-foot tall lighthouse on the south coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada is not currently open to the public, something that the group hopes will change at some point in the future.

The glossy 20-page full color booklet provides wonderful coverage of the illustrious history of the lighthouse and includes 30 beautiful photographs, maps, journal entries, and biographies of the lighthouse keepers who once served there and the current efforts of the nonprofit group. This is not a dry book by any means and makes for fun and interesting reading for anyone. Priced at only $5.00 with proceeds going to help the Sheringham Point Lighthouse you will be helping out by purchasing the booklet, which is available from Lighthouse Digest as item #2133 at www.LighthouseDigest.com or by mail for $5.00 plus $4.50 shipping to Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630.

A Short Bright Flash: Augustin Fresnel and the Birth of the Modern Lighthouse

By Theresa Levitt

How a scientific outsider came up with a revolutionary theory of light and saved untold numbers of lives.

Augustin Fresnel (1788–1827) shocked the scientific elite with his unique understanding of the physics of light. The lens he invented was a brilliant feat of engineering that made lighthouses blaze many times brighter, farther, and more efficiently. Battling the establishment, his own poor health, and the limited technology of the time, Fresnel was able to achieve his goal of illuminating the entire French coast. At first, the British sought to outdo the new Fresnel-equipped lighthouses as a matter of national pride. Americans, too, resisted abandoning their primitive lamps, but the superiority of the Fresnel lens could not be denied for long. Soon, from Dunkirk to Saigon, shores were brightened with it. The Fresnel legacy played an important role in geopolitical events, including the American Civil War. No sooner were Fresnel lenses finally installed along U.S. shores than they were drafted: the Union blockaded the Confederate coast; the Confederacy set about thwarting it by dismantling and hiding or destroying the powerful new lights.

Levitt’s scientific and historical account, rich in anecdote and personality, brings to life the fascinating untold story of Augustin Fresnel and his powerful invention.

Available from Lighthouse Digest as item #2138 at www.LighthouseDigest.com or by mail for $25.95 plus shipping to Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630.

Lighthouse Families, 2nd Edition

By Cheryl Shelton-Roberts

Lighthouse Families by Cheryl Shelton-Roberts, which has always been one of our favorite books and was previously only available in hard cover, is now back in print with a 2nd edition that is soft cover. With so much concentration being made on saving the actual lighthouses, this book instead goes to saving the stories and memories, with photos, of the people who lived at the lighthouses, which brings the lighthouse to life, because without these stories and memories the lighthouse is just a cold structure with no soul. Through the pages of the book you will learn the dangerous and romantic life of thirteen of these families, some who have passed on since they were initially interviewed. This book is a real gem that you will love reading. Lighthouse Families is available from www.Lighthouse Digest as item #2139 for $17.95 plus shipping or by mail to Lighthouse Digest, P.O. Box 250, East Machias, ME 04630 or by calling 207-259-2121.

This story appeared in the Nov/Dec 2013 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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