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The Attacking Ocean: The Past, Present, and Future of Rising Sea Levels

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  90 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
The past fifteen thousand years--the entire span of human civilization--have witnessed dramatic sea level changes, which began with rapid global warming at the end of the Ice Age, when sea levels were more than 700 feet below modern levels. Over the next eleven millennia, the oceans climbed in fits and starts. These rapid changes had little effect on those humans who exper ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published June 11th 2013 by Bloomsbury Press (first published June 6th 2013)
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Apr 24, 2017 rated it liked it
While it is an incredibly important topic --- the dangerous rise of ocean levels, this book doesn't provide much in what we can expect from this ongoing disaster, or what to do about it today. The historical perspective and geography is covered very well, I just think the author missed on just what it means to people looking ahead and possible actions to take. Obviously, we will be experiencing much more in the way of unexpected problems from nature (related to sea levels rising and increased gl ...more
Jaclyn Day
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I started reading this shortly after watching Blackfish and man. Depressing. (But fascinating.) The Attacking Ocean is a sometimes dense, but still riveting nonfiction book about how rising sea levels have affected and are continuing to affect land mass and civilization. Fagan also talks about how these higher sea levels are responsible for the increasing severity of cyclones/hurricanes and tsunamis.

It’s a sobering, eye-opening book. I knew—in generalities—that global warming was affecting the
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I did not know a lot of what this book was written about but I will say the people who live near the coast should read about the history of where they live so as to know the what might happen sometime from storms or melting glaciers
May 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
The framing bothered me from the start (the sea is not attacking) but it is a good overview of the many times and places where human settlements have been inundated.
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fastastic. Addresses sea level rise across centuries and countries/cultures. A great read wherever you stand on the issue of global warming.
Oct 19, 2017 rated it liked it
I listened to this on Audible. The content was quite interesting, and I learned a number of things I didn't know, especially about some historic cultures and civilizations. However, the narration was terrible. The syntax was off, and a number of words were mispronounced. Very distracting!! So if this book interests you, read it in print, don't bother with the audio version.
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm a fan of Fagan (I loved The Little Ice Age) and I'm fascinated by rising sea levels but even I thought the book got bogged down at times. It's either a 3 1/2 or 4. If you are interested in the topic I recommend it.
Melina Watts
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sea level rise is coming due to climate change.

This book should be required reading in high schools and for elected officials.
This book presents evidence to back up the claims the author makes about climate warming and the undeniable conclusion that our rising oceans will claim more and more coastlands around the globe.

What is unpalatable for naysayers is the fact that many populated areas on the coasts are being further developed, rather than previous reactions from humans to rising seas, which was to move inland to survive. We have real estate development that caters to wealthy; who will then pay to build barriers wh
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty sobering book about our susceptibility to environmental changes, both gradual and sudden. Many doomsayers warn about the rise of the oceans due to global warming and melting of the ice caps. That is a legitimate concern, but with the expected rise of only around 1 cm per year (estimates vary greatly), we have time to prepare. A more immediate problem is that with rising ocean temperatures, there will be more sudden destructive storm surges -- events like Hurricanes Katrina and S ...more
Chris Demer
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: geology, environment
This is an interesting book, although it takes many repetitions to make a point.
The author traces the relationships of humans with the sea. In looking back on the changes in sea levels throughout recent geologic time, it is clear that our ancient ancestors who lived on islands or coastal areas were often threatened by storms, tidal waves and sea level changes. However, these small communities, either settled or hunting and gathering communities, found it quite easy to simply move inland or to h
David Bales
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
An enlightening book detailing the encroachment of the world's oceans on different civilizations throughout history, from prehistory to ancient Egypt and Sumeria, China and Japan, (prone to tsunami) and the fascinating story of "Doggerland", the now-underwater area of the North Sea between Britain and the continent of Europe. Ocean encroachment has long been a problem for humankind but has now accelerated due to climate change. Historical accounts of encroachment from the Netherlands, (which dea ...more
Russell King
While a written in obtuse, repetitive and some times hard to follow style, it supplies a useful understanding of the causes and results of sea level changes over the past 10,000 years. This understanding should be a useful base for processing the information being provided today regarding such changes in the future. Some of the repetition seems to have been to just fill space but some may have been for a purpose not unlike telling a child over and over again a message in the hopes they just migh ...more
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
A book looking at sea level rise over the course of human history, as well as the current and future problems the world is facing. I learnt a lot from this book, especially on how humans have adapted previously to sea level rise, and why the current trends are more perilous. Anyone with an interest in geography or the ocean should read it. It can be slow plodding at times though.
Jul 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Poorly edited - sentences and paragraphs were repeated in different places sometimes, as though the author tried a few different options but never finalised his decision. Rates of sea level rise (an amount per year) and absolute sea level rise (an amount of sea level rise within a certain period) were cited interchangeably and confusingly.
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating look at the history of sea level rise and what we can expect in the coming century... well written and didn't drag where it could be text-book dry. I will definitely read more of Fagan's other works.
Jul 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
Reasonably balanced on the subject of climate change, the chief interest of the book for me was its archaeological content -- how did ancient, even prehistoric peoples, deal with environmental changes.
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: project-2014

Stephen King?…Bah, Humbug!

Wanna read a real horror story?…Read this nightmare book that deals with starvation, land subsidence, floods, fresh water scarcity, rising ocean levels, and overpopulation…Horrific stuff…And it's all true!
Nov 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-read
Both informative and chilling.
Erwin Vermeulen
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Apr 18, 2017
Sue Welchman
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Aug 03, 2013
Mohammed Alsaeiaf
rated it it was amazing
Nov 29, 2016
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Aug 06, 2016
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Aug 09, 2014
Steve S.
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Aug 18, 2013
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Jun 30, 2013
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Feb 04, 2015
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Oct 30, 2016
Susan Paxton
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Jun 16, 2013
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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
More about Brian M. Fagan...
“We know of major floods from at least three violent storm surges that hit the German and Dutch coasts in about 1200, 1219, and 1287.14 The surge of January 16, 1219, the feast day of St. Marcellus, killed at least thirty-six thousand people. By bizarre coincidence, one of the greatest and best known medieval surges, known as the Grote Mandrenke (the Great Killing of Men) of 1362, struck on the same day as the 1219 cataclysm:” 1 likes
“A cubic meter of hazelnuts is sufficient to provide 10 percent of the annual energy needs of a mixed population of twenty people.” 0 likes
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