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

3.29 of 5 stars 3.29  ·  rating details  ·  143 ratings  ·  20 reviews
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 horiz ...more
Hardcover, 313 pages
Published July 3rd 2012 by Bloomsbury Press (first published March 14th 2004)
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As the title mentions, this is about how the earliest mariners navigated the world's oceans before compasses and charts. We are speaking of the famous Polynesian explorers who populated the islands of the South Pacific, the Phoenicians, and the early trade between Ancient Egypt, Babylonian, and Indus civilizations as an example. A lot of the material is speculation as there are very few archeological remains of boats. One must turn to artifacts such as pottery, beads and ores and determine their ...more
An interesting survey of prehistoric seafaring. Fagan divides his book into sections based on geography which turns out to be especially helpful because these regions share ocean and wind characteristics, and so developed a common seafaring culture. He is able to color the discussion of those characteristics with his own extensive experience sailing different kinds of boats. I could tell that this book was a passion project of his.

It’s well-written and not very difficult to follow, through it mi
This was a good non-fiction book about how and why the earliest men (and women) in various areas of the globe first took to the sea; I can’t say it was a great book, because it is very long on speculation and the author’s personal sailing experience and short on real information.

In order, the author considers the birth of seamanship in the Far East, Greece, the Indian Ocean, Scandinavia, and a chapter covering both the lower Canadian / United States west coast and the Yucatán Peninsula. The auth
Timothy Dymond
Information just pours out of this book in an overwhelming torrent: Irish Monks sailing out from Ceide Fields; the canoe voyages across the Sunda and Sahel shelves of SE Asia; the mysterious Lapita people who spread across remote Oceania; the sailing canoes of Polynesia; the meltemi winds that rip across the 'wind-dark sea' in the Mediterranean; the Uluburun wreck that told us how wealthy was ancient trade; the Erythraean Sea (the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean); the 'stone towns' of trade along ...more
Fagan cautions, early in his introduction, that there are at least two approaches to reading Beyond the Blue Horizon:
1. You can start at Chapter 1 and read through to the end;, or
2. You can can choose a section devoted to a particular place on the globe, finish it and chose another.

I liked the latter. I bounced around soaking up some great insights Fagan offers as an archaeologist, sailor and historian. Whether talking about indigenous tribes navigating the coast of Germany or Alaska or the Nors
Joe White
This is a rather fast breezy overview, covering some aspects of cultures and trading, based in specific regions of the world where archaeological and historical research has been performed. The regions included:

The Pacific, specifically from Malaysia to across New Guinea to most of the Polynesian islands;

The Aegean Sea, with mention of some of the Eastern Mediterranean trade routes and societies;

The East coast of Africa and the Middle East to India over the Arabian Sea and close in Indian Ocea
I like books about the history of ocean exploration in general, which is why I gave this a go. It was really quite god, although it went more into the types of boats used, their construction, and how they were sailed than I expected. This wasn't a bad thing, but not something I gathered from the title.

The book is broken down into group of chapters having to do with ocean-going in various geographic areas, the peoples involved, and how ideas about sailing developed in those places. He covers sout
Margaret Sankey
Fagan combines his personal expertise as a lifetime sailor with archaeological materials to explore the maritime civilizations as they took the breathtaking leap from coastal waters into the great unknown. For each, he examines how their culture, their available materials and their particular body of water combined to produce a unique seafaring expertise and relationship with the waves, turning up such gems as the importance of memorized landmarks in the Iliad, the effect of the regular rhythms ...more
Broad, sweeping novel full of generalizations and guesswork but fascinating to read just the same. Author does a good job of drawing you in to each specific epoch and culture then imagining how they would have perceived the world. Very interesting.
Fredrick Danysh
The author, an anthropologist, discusses the history of ancient seafaring cultures with conjectures on equipments, causes, and roots. This work provides another view on the peopling of the Asian islands and the Americas as much as 50,000 years ago.
Carson Kicklighter
Cool look into the worldview of the first mariners, but rather rambly. Didn't make it past the second chapter.
George Cassidy
Take ten pages before bedtime. Better than Nytol.
Christina Dudley
A comprehensive book about how different cultures from prehistory until mostly the Renaissance, viewed the seas and navigated them. Depending on which cultures interested you the most, the book could range from fascinating to a little dry, and Fagan must rely on much informed speculation. I liked when he inserted anecdotal history and brought things to life, since I lean more toward the KON-TIKI, nitty-gritty, here's-exactly-what-it-was-like school of adventure writing.
Cliff Mccollum
Not recommended. This was one of the most boring historical pieces I've ever read. It is buried in so many names, terms and words foreign to non-sailors that I never felt like I was actually paying attention. Finally, about 60% of the way through I just gave up.
A brief look at the beginning of sea exploration in southern Pacific, Mediterranean, North Atlantic region and Pacific Northwest (Alaska to California). Due to lack of evidence, based on number of conjectures, but mildly interesting.
Very interesting read from my history of archaeology class. I learned a lot about archaeology and antiquity from reading this book. Some parts were drier than others, but other parts seemed straight out of an Indiana Jones film.
Matthew Stuart
Another of my boat books. He gives a good overview of sailors from around the world.
Steven Price
A little difficult to follow the general run of the story. Not the best.
Aug 22, 2012 Lili added it
i enjoy everything written by B Fagan. this book was esspeccially good
Where on earth did I put this book?
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Brian Murray Fagan (born 1 August 1936) is a prolific author of popular archaeology books and a professor emeritus of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, California, USA. Fagan was born in England where he received his childhood education at Rugby School. He attended Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he studied archaeology and anthropology (BA 1959, MA 1962, PhD 1965). ...more
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