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The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History…

The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World

by Lincoln Paine

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Lincoln Paine wants to change your view of the world. He wants you to focus on the blue parts of the map that cover over 70% of the world's surface. In his book, The Sea and Civilization, he makes that case that mankind's technological and social adaptation to the water has been a driving force in human history, whether it was to wage war, or for migration or commerce.

Perhaps Jared Diamond's great book Guns, Germs and Steel should have been Guns, Germs, Steel and Boats. Paine makes the case by telling the tales of recorded history through the lens of the seas.

At times he succeeds. At other times, the book comes across as a rote recital of history. There were several places in the book where I wanted more insight. Paine is incredibly thorough, hitting most of the major events affected by sea travel. I wish there was more depth instead of breadth. ( )
1 vote dougcornelius | May 18, 2014 |
Lincoln Paine’s The Sea and Civilization provides an essential supplement to terrestrial-oriented world histories. The importance of maritime affairs in commercial and military affairs is well-known, but is skimmed over in many histories that focus on land-based politics.
This book will be most useful to those who already have a broad knowledge of world history. It is best taken in small doses, as the writing can seem tedious and over-detailed. It is difficult to see how such a broad subject could be covered in a more zestful fashion, however. Overall, this is a useful and interesting book. Everyone will learn things that they didn’t know. ( )
2 vote WaltNoise | Oct 10, 2013 |
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"I want to change the way you see the world," says Lincoln Paine at the beginning of his history of mankind's encounter with the sea. It's a worthy goal and superbly realized. ... "The Sea and Civilization" is a history, not a polemic: It is by the careful retelling of our experience of the sea, using an astonishing mass of the most up-to-date evidence, that Mr. Paine persuades us.
added by tim.taylor | editThe Wall Street Journal, John Darwin (pay site) (Jan 3, 2014)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 140004409X, Hardcover)

A monumental, wholly accessible work of scholarship that retells human history through the lens of maritime travel, revealing in breathtaking depth how people first came into contact with one another by ocean and river, and how goods, languages, religions, and entire cultures spread across and along the world's waterways.

Lincoln Paine takes us back to the origins of long-distance migration by sea with our ancestors' first forays from Africa and Eurasia to Australia and the Americas. He demonstrates the critical role of maritime trade to the civilizations of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley. He reacquaints us with the great seafaring cultures of antiquity like those of the Phoenicians and Greeks, as well as those of India, Southeast and East Asia who parlayed their navigational skills, shipbuilding techniques, and commercial acumen to establish vibrant overseas colonies and trade routes in the centuries leading up to the age of European overseas expansion. His narrative traces subsequent developments in commercial and naval shipping through the post-Cold War era. Above all, Paine makes clear how the rise and fall of civilizations can be traced to the sea. An accomplishment of both great sweep and illuminating detail, The Sea and Civilization is a stunning work of history. 

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:07 -0400)

"A maritime history of the world"--

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