Atlantic: Book summary and reviews of Atlantic by Simon Winchester

Atlantic

Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories

By Simon Winchester

Atlantic
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2010,
    512 pages.

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Book Summary

Blending history and anecdote, geography and reminiscence, science and exposition, the New York Times bestselling 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. Simon Winchester 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Winchester occasionally flits beelike from scene to scene, and the facts become lost in a blur. Maybe this is the price for such a monumental undertaking. Nevertheless, Winchester's sea saga is necessary reading." - Publishers Weekly

"His coverage of aspects of human involvement with this ocean is lively and extensive, with topics ranging from the Atlantic as represented in the arts to the effects of climate change and overfishing and from immigration patterns to the use of the ocean’s waters for warfare." - Booklist

"Winchester does an excellent job at presenting an extensive collection of the most interesting parts of [the Atlantic's] existence. Highly recommended." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. A lifetime of thought, travel, reading, imagination and memory inform this affecting account." - Kirkus Reviews

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Author Information

Simon Winchester Author Biography

Simon Winchester, OBE, a British writer, journalist and broadcaster, was born in north London on 28th September 1944, the only child of Bernard and Andrée Winchester (née deWael).

Though not Catholic, he was educated first at a boarding convent in Bridport, Dorset and later at Hardye's School, Dorchester, Dorset. After taking time off to hitch-hike around Canada and the United States for almost a year between leaving school and entering university, he went up to Oxford in 1963, to read geology at St. Catherine's College.

After graduation in 1966 he joined a Canadian mining company, Falconbridge of Africa, and worked as field geologist in Uganda, looking for copper deposits in the foothills of the Ruwenzori Mountains, close to the border with Congo.

He then made a ...

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