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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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» See also 67 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
Stories and histories and battles and poems etc... about the Atlantic ocean - no surprise there. 3/4 of this book was great but another 1/4 was just plain boring, and I found myself either absorbed in the book or not listening at all. Overall, I'd say worth a read but expect some very slow parts. ( )
  marshapetry | May 23, 2014 |
Gets quite depressing towards the end, as he recounts one Atlantic ecosystem disaster after another, including the collapse of the Atlantic northwest cod fishery. ( )
  rakerman | Dec 16, 2013 |
I can't not love Simon Winchester's writing, but this is my least favorite of his books. I love them all, but this one seemed weakest in the narrative thread that pulls the disparate elements of his other works together so neatly. ( )
  justplainoldcj | Dec 9, 2013 |
This book is subtitled "The Biography of an Ocean" and has a very clever framing device. Simon Winchester uses Shakespeare's "Seven Ages of Man" speech as his guide, devoting a chapter to each of the Atlantic's "ages", from the first tribes to sail upon its waters to its eventual geological fate. Some of the chapters were more interesting than others; I found the first chapter a bit slow but was fascinated by the chapter on the age of sail and early naval warfare. The last chapter, about what will become of the Atlantic as the Earth's tectonic plates shift, was also illuminating as I had not heard about that before and would like to find out more. The book is liberally sprinkled with anecdotes, fun facts and asides, and makes for some interesting weekend reading. Given the length of the chapters, it would make a better Sunday-afternoon book than a bedside book. Recommended for those who liked Winchester's book about Krakatoa, or those who like to read Hornblower or Master and Commander, or those interested in the environmental aspects of our relationship with the Atlantic. ( )
1 vote rabbitprincess | Sep 15, 2013 |
Good read, well structured; a little showy but fascinating nonetheless.
( )
  bontley | Aug 24, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Simon Winchesterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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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