Ross's Reviews > Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms & a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories

Atlantic by Simon Winchester
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Sep 25, 13

Read in September, 2013

The author refers to this book as "a biography of the Atlantic Ocean." It is a substantial work: indeed it takes 50 pages just to get through the preface and the prologue.
Basically it is a large collection of vignettes, essays and journals of personal expeirence of the author dealing with directly, or sometimes very indirectly, the ocean of the title.
It opens with a discusion of the original creation of the Atlantic around 200 million years ago when the proto continent of Pangea ruptured with North and South America drifing away from the old world.
Most of the last part of the book deals with the effects to date of global warming on the ocean and the glaciers bordering the Atlantic in Greenland and Antarctica. The upshot here, of course, is rising sea level and what is in store for populations at the edge of the sea.
There is an interesting review of what the Dutch are doing: massive efforts because of their enoormous vulnerability. The author, who grew up in London, remarks dryly that nothing much is being done to protect London, which is also at great risk.
Finally, he closes by noting that geologic studies indicate the Atlantic will cease to exist in another 170 million years, adding "long after humans are gone." I would like to ask him where he thinks we went.
Having first read the book in 2011, I have just gone through the audiobook version which is read by the author and is very good.
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09/15/2013 marked as: currently-reading
09/25/2013 marked as: read

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