Jay'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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's review
Mar 24, 2012

really liked it
Read from March 01 to 20, 2012 — I own a copy , read count: 1

This is a great companion book to "The Fourth Part of the World," Toby Lester's book about the early exploration of the Americas and the history of New World Maps. "Atlantic" is the epic story of mankind's relationship with the Atlantic Ocean, from the fear it inspired in early peoples, to the opportunities it presented to Europeans of the Renaissance and Industrial Age, through the sometimes bored familiarity and even abusive contempt we moderns have for it today. In Winchester's inimitable style he explores all aspects of the Great Ocean Sea--it's history, geography, biology, and ecology.

It's in that last bit that I have to take away one star from my rating. Writing just as the Climategate emails were becoming public, demonstrating just how dishonest and politically motivated are many of the prominent prophets of man-made global warming, the book's last third or so gets too preachy with the usual dull diatribes about how evil man is, how we are killing ourselves with carbon, etc. Winchester makes a couple of half-hearted attempts to be fair and balanced by mentioning that there are, in fact, well-reasoned countervailing views to AGW, but that doesn't keep him from dredging up the same tired tropes about carbon footprints and greenhouse gases.

If you can gloss over the political agenda, the book is an otherwise delightful journey packed full of information and fascinating trivia, personal stories, and insights about our most familiar and influential ocean.
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