Brian E edited the summary of Carry On, Mr. Bowditch Monday, October 18, 2010.
Nathaniel Bowditch is born into turbulent times. The book opens in Nat and Hab's shared bedroom in Danvers, MA, on the eve of the Bowditch family's return to Salem, MA. As Nat figures the ages of his siblings, we get a sense of his love for calculations. That love never leaves him. In Salem, he begins school and loves learning all he can about mathematics. He gains hopes for a further education at Harvard. But times get hard and Nat is forced to quit school to help his father at the family cooper shop. Nat is later indentured to a ship chandler in Salem and forced to live with the owner. He continues his studies in the evenings after work. After 9 years of service, Nat leaves the chandlery and begins his sailing career under Captain Prince. On his voyages with Capt. Prince, Nat innovates navigation and teaches his fellow crewmen how to navigate. Over the rest of the book, Nat continues his innovations while navigating the seas of Europe and Asia. He assists greatly in the publication of The American Practical Navigator which becomes the "seamen's bible" for its usefulness at sea. Nat has personal trials throughout the book as many close friends and relatives die. Through all the hard times, Nat Bowditch proves that great things can come from even the most humble of beginnings.