By Simon Winchester
Mixing background and anecdote, geography and memory, technology and exposition, the New York Times bestselling writer of Krakatoa tells the breathtaking saga of the incredible Atlantic Ocean, environment it opposed to the backdrop of mankind's highbrow evolution
Until one thousand years in the past, no people ventured into the Atlantic or imagined traversing its gigantic infinity. yet as soon as the 1st bold mariners effectively navigated to a long way shores—whether it was once the Vikings, the Irish, the chinese language, Christopher Columbus within the north, or the Portuguese and the Spanish within the south—the Atlantic advanced within the world's growing to be cognizance of itself as an enclosed physique of water bounded by way of the Americas to the West, and by means of Europe and Africa to the East. Atlantic is a biography of this titanic area, of a sea which has outlined and made up our minds loads concerning the lives of the hundreds of thousands who stay beside or close to its tens of hundreds of thousands of miles of coast.
The Atlantic has been imperative to the goals of explorers, scientists and warriors, and it maintains to impact our personality, attitudes, and desires. Poets to potentates, seers to sailors, fishermen to foresters—all have a courting with this nice physique of blue-green sea and regard her as pal or foe, adversary or best friend, reckoning on condition or fortune. Simon Winchester chronicles that dating, making the Atlantic come vividly alive. Spanning from the earth's geological origins to the age of exploration, global struggle II battles to fashionable pollutants, his narrative is epic and awe-inspiring.
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Additional info for Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms,and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories
A handful of businessmen, not a few politicians, and clubby aggregations of diplomats went too, but most of them in propeller-driven aircraft rather than propeller-driven ships, for their crossings were said to be more urgent. For those who made the journey, it was still an adventure that could be daunting, exciting, memorable, suffused with romance, or cursed by the travails of mal de mer. What it most certainly was not was routine. The same can hardly be said today. Yes, for a while it certainly was an excitement to cross the ocean by air—but for only a very short while.
Oceans are born, and oceans die. And the Atlantic, the once much feared Great Outer Sea, the most carefully studied and considered of them all, was not always there, and it will not remain either where it is or what it is. For an ocean to begin, a planet must have two elemental essentials. One is water. The other is land. The enormous tonnage of water4 that presently exists has not always been there, of course—but recent research suggests that it came into existence fairly soon after the earth was first coalesced out of clouds of space-borne planetesimals, almost five billion years ago.
The making and unmaking of a multidimensional topography is only now beginning to be understood. The earth in its early days may have been both water and land, but it was a scalding and wretched place. It spun on its axis much more rapidly than today: once every five hours the sun would rise, though had any inhabitants been around they would not likely have seen it through the vast clouds of ash and smoke and fire and noxious gas. If the skies ever cleared, the planet below would have been scourged by unfiltered pulses of ultraviolet radiation and gamma rays, making the surface hostile to almost everything.