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From Antiquity to modern times, the Atlantic has been the subject of myths and legends. The Atlantic by Paul Butel offers a global history of the ocean encompassing the exploits of adventurers, Vikings, explorers such as Christopher Columbus, emigrants, fishermen, and modern traders. The book also highlights the importance of the growth of ports such as New York and Liverpool and the battles of the Atlantic in the world wars of the twentieth century.
The author offers an examination of the legends of the ocean, beginning with the Phoenicians and Carthaginians navigating beyong the Pillars of Hercules, and details the exploitation and power struggles of the Atlantic through the centuries.
The book surveys the important events in the Atlantic's rich history and comprehensively analyses the changing fortunes of sea-going nations, including Britain, the United States and Germany.
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Paul Butel is Professor of modern history at Universite de Michel de Montaigne in Bordeaux, France.From Booklist:
To modern legatees of the voyages of discovery, the Atlantic is just a pond crossed quickly by jetliner, somewhat slower by the container ships that connect prosperous nations. Gazing past the Pillars of Hercules, the ancients (except for intrepid Phoenicians) recoiled from a forbidding ocean; not so the Vikings, who established a few colonies on its northern islands. These are among the topics Butel, a French historian, explores in this survey of the human history of the Atlantic Ocean. Drawing on seemingly encyclopedic knowledge about the Atlantic, Butel composes a comprehensible popular work covering all aspects of Atlantic maritime transportation--ship technology, weather patterns, geography, particular voyages, wars, and commerce--but of all these topics, commerce dominates his narrative. It alone made crossing the Atlantic worthwhile: the Spanish reaped an immediate payoff in conquered silver, then followed the returns from the English plantation economies and the African slave trade on which they relied; and the Dutch and French elbowed in as best they could. A wide-angle perspective most useful in large collections. Gilbert Taylor
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