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Beyond the Blue Horizon: How the Earliest…
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Beyond the Blue Horizon: How the Earliest Mariners Unlocked the Secrets of…

by Brian Fagan

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In Beyond the Blue Horizon, archaeologist and historian Brian Fagan tackles his richest topic yet: the enduring quest to master the oceans, the planet's most mysterious terrain. We know the tales of Columbus and Captain Cook, yet much earlier mariners made equally bold and world-changing voyages. From the moment when ancient Polynesians first dared to sail beyond the horizon, Fagan vividly explains how our mastery of the oceans changed the course of human history.

What drove humans to risk their lives on open water? How did early sailors unlock the secrets of winds, tides, and the stars they steered by? What were the earliest ocean crossings like? With compelling detail, Fagan reveals how seafaring evolved so that the forbidding realms of the sea gods were transformed from barriers into a nexus of commerce and cultural exchange. From bamboo rafts in the Java Sea to triremes in the Aegean, from Norse longboats to sealskin kayaks in Alaska, Fagan crafts a captivating narrative of humanity's urge to challenge the unknown and seek out distant shores. Beyond the Blue Horizon will enthrall readers who enjoyed Dava Sobel's Longitude, Simon Winchester's Atlantic, and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. ( )
  MarkBeronte | Mar 4, 2014 |
In this survey of old traditions of navigation and what living with the ocean meant to the people who created navigation, the problem is that Fagan covers such a variety of experiences that this work feels a bit insubstantial, even considering that he's writing for a popular audience. What really ties it all together is Fagan's not inconsiderable experience as a sailor, to the point that one wishes that he had produced straight-forward memoir of his own nautical life. ( )
  Shrike58 | Sep 19, 2013 |
Interesting, but got a bit repetitive for me. Did not finish. ( )
  rossarn | Dec 2, 2012 |
I have so many problems with how this book was written and/or edited. This subject apparently offers very little in the way of a concrete historical record -- fine. The author has to rely on supposition and draw analogies to his own experience -- fine. Meandering both geographically and chronologically, circling back around topics repeatedly without clarifying them -- not fine at all. No doubt some of my difficulties stem from my lack of knowledge about sailing, but I'd planned for the book to -remedy- that lack. (Note to self: find out if John McPhee has written on this topic.) ( )
1 vote kylenapoli | Oct 12, 2012 |
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Looks at the early development of navigation, examining how ancient humans discovered the secrets of wind, tides, and stars that allowed them to make long voyages that profoundly changed human civilization.

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