The Great Ocean: Pacific Worlds from Captain Cook to the Gold Rush

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9780199914951: The Great Ocean: Pacific Worlds from Captain Cook to the Gold Rush

The Pacific of the early eighteenth century was not a single ocean but a vast and varied waterscape, a place of baffling complexity, with 25,000 islands and seemingly endless continental shorelines. But with the voyages of Captain James Cook, global attention turned to the Pacific, and European and American dreams of scientific exploration, trade, and empire grew dramatically. By the time of the California gold rush, the Pacific's many shores were fully integrated into world markets-and world consciousness.

The Great Ocean draws on hundreds of documented voyages--some painstakingly recorded by participants, some only known by archeological remains or indigenous memory--as a window into the commercial, cultural, and ecological upheavals following Cook's exploits, focusing in particular on the eastern Pacific in the decades between the 1770s and the 1840s. Beginning with the expansion of trade as seen via the travels of William Shaler, captain of the American Brig Lelia Byrd, historian David Igler uncovers a world where voyagers, traders, hunters, and native peoples met one another in episodes often marked by violence and tragedy. Igler describes how indigenous communities struggled against introduced diseases that cut through the heart of their communities; how the ordeal of Russian Timofei Tarakanov typified the common practice of taking hostages and prisoners; how Mary Brewster witnessed first-hand the bloody "great hunt" that decimated otters, seals, and whales; how Adelbert von Chamisso scoured the region, carefully compiling his notes on natural history; and how James Dwight Dana rivaled Charles Darwin in his pursuit of knowledge on a global scale.

These stories--and the historical themes that tie them together--offer a fresh perspective on the oceanic worlds of the eastern Pacific. Ambitious and broadly conceived, The Great Ocean is the first book to weave together American, oceanic, and world history in a path-breaking portrait of the Pacific world.

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About the Author:


David Igler is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine. His books include Industrial Cowboys: Miller & Lux and the Transformation of the Far West, 1850-1920 and The Human Tradition in California.

Review:


"Among the numerous accomplishments of this impressive book, the most striking may be its achievement of extending history from its usual terrestrial focus to the ocean. David Igler's The Great Ocean joins a growing list of histories of ocean basins and world histories that focus on the maritime realm...Igler's contribution not only puts the sea at the center, but succeeds in telling a story that illuminates both human history and the history of a part of the ocean, the waterscape between the coastal Americas and islands scattered throughout the Pacific."--American Historical Review


"The Great Ocean pictures the mid nineteenth-century Pacific as both a graveyard and a seedbed...Tell[s] a grim story of unbridled hubris, confident consumption, environmental degradation and the collapse of vulnerable populations."--Times Literary Supplement


"A signal contribution to the growing body of seminal studies on North America's Pacific ties...Igler's book brilliantly elucidates the complex interplay between global, oceanic, and local scales of history....The author's thesis is bold and breaks new ground; his scholarship is impeccable; and his exposition is clear, succinct, and at times evocative. A tour de force, The Great Ocean is out in front on the wave of Pacific histories."--H-California


"David Igler´s new book truly has a lot to offer: A fascinating topic, a tremendously entertaining read, an intriguing argument and numerous colourful, tightly interwoven narratives Igler demonstrates a seminal and inspiring way to approach a geographical region as complex and elusive as the Pacific Ocean."--H-Soz-u-Kult


"An excellent book that tells us much about how the world came to the Pacific, how the Pacific became part of the world, and how the so-called eastern Pacific became the United States' Far West."--Western Historical Quarterly


"Igler makes good use of published and accessible source materials of the nineteenth century maritime world...as well as the emerging interdisciplinary realm of cultural geography and history....The basic theme [of the book]...is an important contribution that is well delivered in a slender, accessible, and attractive book."--Oregon Historical Quarterly


"An admirable example of the new international intercultural maritime history....Igler charts the economic, demographic, and cultural changes that define the period between the 1780s and 1840s as one of transformation."--CHOICE


"The Great Ocean transports the reader on the winds of trade or the trade winds to the multiple worlds of commerce and systems of knowledge created by Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and Europeans. Its scale is grand, embracing waters and lands, humans and animals, and the imperial Pacific while not losing sight of the individuals who negotiated that history-a remarkable achievement."--Gary Okihiro, author of Island Worlds: A History of Hawai`i and the United States


"Here is U.S. history, maritime history, Pacific Islands history, world history, environmental history, labor history, social history all in one volume, and all beautifully done. A host of topics--early encounters in the Hawaiian Islands, the economic significance of whaling, the differences and similarities in how various powers established their presences in the Pacific, and more--look different once Igler is done with them. Surprises abound, but so does careful, balanced synthesis. What more could a reader want?"--Kenneth Pomeranz, University of Chicago


"David Igler's The Great Ocean is a majestic contribution to the globalizing of American history, and an original, environmentally-informed peregrination around North and South America, Oceania, and Asia. Igler follows traders and merchants, epidemic plagues, the slaughter and near decimation of marine mammals, captives and hostages, and the nineteenth-century articulation of a truly Pacific-based natural history of geology, oceanography, climatology, and American empire. It is an allusive work, engaging, richly detailed, and full of compelling stories that change our understanding of life across generations, in and around the world's greatest ocean."--Matt K. Matsuda, Rutgers University


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Great Ocean examines the convergence and fragmentation of Pacific worlds during a period of rapidly expanding trade, indigenous depopulation, and scientific investigations. With a particular focus on the eastern Pacific in the decades between the 1770s and the 1840s, this study uncovers world history in the coastal localities where voyagers, traders, hunters, and native peoples met one another through episodes often marked by violence and tragic outcomes. Igler reveals a vast oceanic and coastal geography that gradually became entangled with global circuits. Rather than a single ocean world, this study demonstrates how the eastern Pacific encompassed a variety of seas and a multiplicity of human communities. At the same time, The Great Ocean situates this story in the personal and intimate interactions of different groups, including indigenous ocean peoples, mainland native groups, and a diverse assortment of foreign voyagers. This story poignantly presents the individuals and the themes they embody. The American William Shaler sought wealth through trans-Pacific trade with China. Indigenous communities struggled against introduced diseases that cut through the heart of their communities. The Russian Timofei Tarakanov desired freedom from his ordeal in captivity. Mary Brewster longed for a cargo of whale oil and a safe voyage home. Kadu desired to see more of the ocean, while his European companion Adelbert von Chamisso carefully compiled his notes on natural history. Finally, James Dwight Dana pursued knowledge of the largest scale, including the origins of the earth. Their stories-and the historical themes that tie them together-offers a stunning perspective on the oceanic worlds of the eastern Pacific. Ambitious and broadly conceived, this is the first study of its kind to examine the Pacific Basin through the intersection of American, oceanic, and world history. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9780199914951

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2013. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Great Ocean examines the convergence and fragmentation of Pacific worlds during a period of rapidly expanding trade, indigenous depopulation, and scientific investigations. With a particular focus on the eastern Pacific in the decades between the 1770s and the 1840s, this study uncovers world history in the coastal localities where voyagers, traders, hunters, and native peoples met one another through episodes often marked by violence and tragic outcomes. Igler reveals a vast oceanic and coastal geography that gradually became entangled with global circuits. Rather than a single ocean world, this study demonstrates how the eastern Pacific encompassed a variety of seas and a multiplicity of human communities. At the same time, The Great Ocean situates this story in the personal and intimate interactions of different groups, including indigenous ocean peoples, mainland native groups, and a diverse assortment of foreign voyagers. This story poignantly presents the individuals and the themes they embody. The American William Shaler sought wealth through trans-Pacific trade with China. Indigenous communities struggled against introduced diseases that cut through the heart of their communities. The Russian Timofei Tarakanov desired freedom from his ordeal in captivity. Mary Brewster longed for a cargo of whale oil and a safe voyage home. Kadu desired to see more of the ocean, while his European companion Adelbert von Chamisso carefully compiled his notes on natural history. Finally, James Dwight Dana pursued knowledge of the largest scale, including the origins of the earth. Their stories-and the historical themes that tie them together-offers a stunning perspective on the oceanic worlds of the eastern Pacific. Ambitious and broadly conceived, this is the first study of its kind to examine the Pacific Basin through the intersection of American, oceanic, and world history. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9780199914951

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc. Book Condition: New. 2013. 1st Edition. Hardcover. A groundbreaking and lyrically written work that explores the world of the Pacific Ocean. Num Pages: 272 pages, 15 hts. BIC Classification: 1KBBW; 1QRP; 3JF; 3JH; HBJK; HBLL. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 243 x 165 x 28. Weight in Grams: 492. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780199914951

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