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

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

Published by HarperAudio


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

Published by HarperAudio

ratings:
4/5 (42 ratings)
Length:
14 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Nov 2, 2010
ISBN:
9780062007124
Format:
Audiobook

Description

"Variably genial, cautionary, lyrical, admonitory, terrifying, horrifying and inspiring…A lifetime of thought, travel, reading, imagination and memory inform this affecting account." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Blending history and anecdote, geography and reminiscence, science and exposition, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester tells the breathtaking saga of the Atlantic Ocean. A gifted storyteller and consummate historian, Winchester sets the great blue sea's epic narrative against the backdrop of mankind's intellectual evolution, telling not only the story of an ocean, but the story of civilization. Fans of Winchester's Krakatoa, The Man Who Loved China, and The Professor and the Madman will love this masterful, penetrating, and resonant tale of humanity finding its way across the ocean of history.

Publisher:
Released:
Nov 2, 2010
ISBN:
9780062007124
Format:
Audiobook

About the author



Reviews

What people think about Atlantic

3.8
42 ratings / 32 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Simon Winchester took on a mighty task attempting to write the biography of an ocean and does well, all things considering. Winchester starts from the start, detailing the continental drift over millions of years which led to the birth of the Atlantic (fortunately he manages to summarise these millions of years into a few pages) and which finally lead to the Atlantic disappearing.We also meet the first humans to have seen the Atlantic and onto those first European explorers looking to cross the Atlantic and onto today. All in all, another worthy tome by Mr Winchester.
  • (4/5)
    This is another wonderful narrative about a topic by one of the best non-fiction authors of our times. Simon Winchester weaves together not only his own personal experiences with the Atlantic Ocean, but tells a tale that encompases a wide range of topics (geology, history, archeaology, biology, economics, and geopolitics) into a seamless whole. I found the information fascinating. What I enjoyed was how Winchester tackled a topic as broad as an ocean. He uses the seven stages of a man's life (infant, schoolboy, lover, soldier, justice, slippered pantaloon, and second childishness) from the monologue given by Jaques from William Shakespear's play, "As You Like It". This splits up the story into seven different parts, and allows Winchester to combine similar stories about the Atlantic based on the "life" of a man. This was a wonderful way to create a metaphor about the Atlantic, and to convey so many seemingly different stories and information into a cohesive tale. I highly recommend this book.
  • (1/5)
    I could not give it a 1/2 star. Winchester has quite a vocabulary, and a knack for fantasy. His insistence on evolution and billions of years is his great weakness. He is another advocate for the unscientific theory that everything came from nothing.
    He is utterly without excuse BECAUSE there is no possible way for life to occur “on its own” from mere matter.
  • (4/5)
    Themes that tie the work of Simon Winchester together seem to be "geology" "geography" and "history. They are the most frequent tags assigned to the work of the author. Atlantic. A vast ocean of a million stories is similar to some of Winchester's other work in the sense that the work is fragmented, but still forms a unity, tying together geography, geology and history. However, this book seems more voluminous than previous works, quite a whopper at just under 500 pages. The sub-title of the book Great sea battles, heroic discoveries, titanic storms, and a vast ocean of a million stories (not all editions) describes the book very well, although it seems this title was perhaps suggested by the editor rather than the author. In fact, the book as a whole radiates a sense of fatigue, and the reader may wonder whether the idea for the book came from the author or from the editor. In some markets the book is promoted as Atlantic. The Biography of an Ocean. Besides being dedicated to his wife, the book is also dedicated to Angus Campbell Macintyre, a hero, described in the book.The introduction of the book starts with a peculiar anthropomorphic approach to "the life cycle" of the ocean, which leads to the illogical conclusion that if it has a life (cycle) it might as well have its biography written. This circular type of illogical reasoning seems another attempt of the author to please the editor who probably made that suggestion. The chapter that describes the "birth" of the ocean, with its predictable echoes of other works by Winchester about the "life" or "birth" of geological phenomena, is the most mechanical and boring.However, in the other chapter, the author brings together an encyclopaedic wealth of knowledge and details about the Atlantic Ocean as the setting or background to historic events from the earliest archaelogical records to the present. Naturally, there is an enormous wealth of material to choose from, describing the travels of the Phoenicians, Vikingsto the history of the great seafaring nations. There are also chapters devoted to the weather, biology of maritime life and the effects of global warming.Another peculiar characteristic displayed by the author is the tendency to write himself into the narrative. The book does not exactly follow a historical timeline. Rather, it starts with the earliest travel experiences of the author in the early 1980s near Cadiz, which ties together the narrative from the Isles of Mogador to the Phoenicians and the Greeks and Romans passing out beyond the Pillars of Hercules. Later on in the book, attention turns to what should be a black page in British history, the Falklands War in 1982. Are these personal touches there for the author, or are they supposed to create a sense of personal experience?Still, Simon Winchester has a magnificent command of his maretial and a wonderful writing style. Given that it would be impossible to describe all of the history that accurred around the sea boards of the Atlantic Ocean, the author brings together a both recognizable and novel, original choice of historical data, with a perfect balance between overall, global developments and a myriad of detail. Both American and European history are involved, particulary from the point of view of trade, shipping, travel and communication by various means, both shipping and air travel.In sum, Simon Winchester has done it again. Atlantic. A vast ocean of a million stories is a huge, and hugely readable book, offering somethin of interest to virtually every reader, provided they enjoy reading, and can handle a book that it itself encompasses an ocean of reading material.
  • (4/5)
    I love Simon Winchester: Best selling author, broadcaster, journalist at The Guardian. I've been lucky enough to hear him speak and found him charming and delightful. A biography of the Atlantic Ocean would seem a huge and daunting task, even to such an accomplished writer. He fairly says as much while explaining his decision to use Shakespeare's "Seven Ages of Man" as an organizing literary device. We see the youth of early geological formation and exploration, the soldiers of the many wars waged on her expanse and are given a hint of her tectonic demise. Throughout is a fact-o-rama of tidbits, tales, personal stories and anecdotes. If one 'age' doesn't catch your fancy, stick around as Winchester quickly moves along to yet another interesting and unknown account. Some narratives worked less well for me than others. I would suggest this as a book to graze through rather than trying to swallow in one large gulp.
  • (4/5)
    while flying over the atlantic