Top positive review
How the Atlantic and Humans are intertwined, with lots of side explorations along the way. A lovely read.
on July 3, 2016
I have read every one of Winchester's books and enjoyed them all, although some have been more interesting than others due to subject matter or tone. Atlantic (which precedes Pacific) is a history of the ocean, more or less, and those who have sought to cross it, discover inside it, and make money from it. The core of the book is a story of the Atlantic in the rest of world history, covering everything from towns and, later, cities built on the shores to allow coastal navigation, shipping and fishing, through to the tentative explorations of the farther reaches of the ocean.
There's the story of European and North American commerce, military conquests, undersea communications, and more here, all written in Winchester's readable style. The latter part of the book looks at the life within the Atlantic: the exploration of the depths and the exploitation of the ocean itself by man. There's mention of the effects of global warming and pollution, and the way we all depend on the Atlantic for our water and more. There's some lovely facts here that I didn't know before, covering all manner of subjects and interest areas.
More than anything, this is an account of an ocean and the humans who interact with it over a long period of time. Atlantic has been called a love-letter to the ocean, but I think it's more of an exploration of a natural phenomenon that has shaped our lives from our earliest ancestors, following through the various civilizations that have used the ocean for various means. It's informative, certainly, but you'd expect that from Winchester. It's well written, but again you'd expect that. And it's going to raise your knowledge level and your curiosity, and that certainly is what I expect from Winchester. I really enjoyed reading Atlantic and it's strongly recommended for many different reasons.