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Atlantic: The Biography of an Ocean by Simon…
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Atlantic: The Biography of an Ocean (2010)

by Simon Winchester

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (46)  Italian (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
A rather idiosyncratic, rambly sort of biography of the Atlantic Ocean, combining personal anecdotes, potted biographies, short capsule histories, &c. Some very good bits, but some stretches that didn't hold my attention very well. ( )
  JBD1 | Aug 24, 2018 |
A heavy commercial formula with tenuously enervating connections to the Atlantic on every page, it took a very long time to get into, picked up a bit in the final quarter, then dragged on laboriously until I was happy to be finished, but only so I could scratch it off my list of part-read books. I very much enjoyed The Meaning of Everything, but I think the scholarly topic piqued my interest. I really struggled with Atlantic as it made me re-think how I select the books I read. Winchester obviously spent a great deal of effort on researching this book, and I was happy to learn more about St Helena and other parts of the world that were entirely unfamiliar, yet I am now beset by a desire to be more discerning in the books I read, and to stop and give up on a book when I know it was designed as an airport read, and would have served that purpose admirably had it stayed in the airport. I, however, brought the book home and its contents were ill-suited to this less-than-sympathetic environment. ( )
  madepercy | Nov 7, 2017 |
Simon Winchester once again charms with an inspired framework and ever lilting tongue, wrapping the deep history of the Atlantic Ocean in beautiful language, personal narrative and a sprinkling of Kiplingesque turns of phrase. My only disappointment is that Winchester occasionally speaks with undue authoritative confidence about some ‘facts’ of history and science, without putting them in their rightfully muddied and complex context. ( )
  rabbit.blackberry | Oct 19, 2017 |
Simon Winchester once again charms with an inspired framework and ever lilting tongue, wrapping the deep history of the Atlantic Ocean in beautiful language, personal narrative and a sprinkling of Kiplingesque turns of phrase. My only disappointment is that Winchester occasionally speaks with undue authoritative confidence about some ‘facts’ of history and science, without putting them in their rightfully muddied and complex context. ( )
  rabbit.blackberry | Oct 19, 2017 |
Great sea battles, heroic discoveries, titanic
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Simon Winchesterprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lisa VesteråsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torstein VelsandTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Men might as well project a voyage to the Moon, as attempt to employ steam navigation against the stormy North Atlantic Ocean.Dionysius Lardner, Irish scientific writer and lecturer, 1838
Dedication
This book is for Setsuko and in memory of Angus Campbell MacintyreFirst mate of the South African Harbour Board tug Sir Charles Elliott who died in 1942, trying to save lives and whose body lies unfound somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean
First words
(Preface) The ocean romance that lies at the heart of this book was primed for me by an unanticipated but unforgettable small incident.
(Prologue) A big ocean - and the Atlantic is a very big ocean indeed - has the appearance of a settled permanence.
The Kingdom of Morocco has on its most widely used currency bill neither a camel nor a minaret nor a Touareg in desert blue, but the representation of the shell of a very large snail.
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Blending history and anecdote, geography and reminiscence, science and exposition, the author of Krakatoa tells the breathtaking saga of the magnificent Atlantic Ocean, setting it against the backdrop of mankind's intellectual evolution. Until a thousand years ago, no humans ventured into the Atlantic or imagined traversing its vast infinity. But once the first daring mariners successfully navigated to far shores, whether it was the Vikings, the Irish, the Chinese, Christopher Columbus in the north, or the Portuguese and the Spanish in the south, the Atlantic evolved in the world's growing consciousness of itself as an enclosed body of water bounded by the Americas to the West, and by Europe and Africa to the East. Atlantic is a biography of this immense space, of a sea which has defined and determined so much about the lives of the millions who live beside or near its tens of thousands of miles of coast. The Atlantic has been central to the ambitions of explorers, scientists and warriors, and it continues to affect our character, attitudes, and dreams. Poets to potentates, seers to sailors, fishermen to foresters, all have a relationship with this great body of blue-green sea and regard her as friend or foe, adversary or ally, depending on circumstance or fortune. The author chronicles that relationship, making the Atlantic come vividly alive. Spanning from the earth's geological origins to the age of exploration, World War II battles to modern pollution, his narrative is epic and awe-inspiring.… (more)

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