Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms,and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories

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9780061702587: Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms,and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories

The epic life story of the Atlantic Ocean from the bestselling author, Simon Winchester For thousands of years the Atlantic Ocean was viewed by mariners with a mixture of awe, terror and amazement -- an impassable barrier to the unknown. In recent times, as we fly high above it without so much as bothering to look down, this vast sea has been reduced to the status of a mere passageway between continents -- 'the pond'. It is easy to forget that the Atlantic has been the setting for some of the most important exchanges, ideas and challenges in the history of civilisation -- a fulcrum around which the power and influence of the modern world has long been distributed. In this narrative tour de force, Simon Winchester dramatises the life story of the Atlantic, from its birth in the farther recesses of geological time to its eventual extinction millions of years in the future. At the heart of the book is the story of humankind's evolving attitude to and relationship with the ocean. For millennia it has shaped the lives and cultures of those who have lived along its shores and have navigated its waters. Travelling around its edges and across its huge expanse, Winchester reports from the places that encapsulate the Atlantic's most fascinating stories -- the age of exploration and the colonisation of the Americas; the rise and fall of the slave trade, and the flourishing of transatlantic commerce; extraordinary tales of sea-borne emigration; and the great naval battles that have left an indelible imprint on Atlantic history. The result is an utterly enthralling mixture of history, science and reportage from a master of narrative non-fiction, and an exhilarating account of a magnificent body of water.

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The definitive biography of the world's most important body of water -- the Atlantic. One hundred and ninety million years ago, the shifting of two of the world's tectonic plates led to the creation of an immense chasm. This giant gash in the flanks of the planet slowly opened up and eventually evolved into the most important and most travelled ocean in our world. In this utterly original biography, Simon Winchester explores the life of the Atlantic; it's birth, its relationship with mankind, and what lies in store for it once man has left the stage. He charts the development of the first settlements by the Oceanside -- the communities of Celts and Vikings and whose lives depended on the sea -- and delves into the age of exploration, venturing to forgotten worlds. The building of some of the world's most beautiful port cities -- London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Casablanca -- is also examined, along with the creation of settlements and colonies in and around the sea. Completely unique and highly readable, Atlantic takes its reader on a wonderful journey through time, along the waves of our planet's most significant ocean.

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"Variably genial, cautionary, lyrical, admonitory, terrifying, horrifying and inspiring...A lifetime of thought, travel, reading, imagination and memory inform this affecting account." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Blending history and anecdote, geography and reminiscence, science and exposition, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester tells the breathtaking saga of the Atlantic Ocean. A gifted storyteller and consummate historian, Winchester sets the great blue sea's epic narrative against the backdrop of mankind's intellectual evolution, telling not only the story of an ocean, but the story of civilization. Fans of Winchester's Krakatoa, The Man Who Loved China, and The Professor and the Madman will love this masterful, penetrating, and resonant tale of humanity finding its way across the ocean of history.

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