Read Atlantic by Simon Winchester Free Online
Book Title: Atlantic|
The author of the book: Simon Winchester
ISBN 13: 9780007341399
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 32.42 MB
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Loaded: 2848 times
Reader ratings: 6.3
Edition: HarperCollins Publishers
Date of issue: July 1st 2011
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Using as his central pillar a Shakespearean monologue from As You Like It that lists the seven stages of a man’s life, Simon Winchester offers us the life of an ocean.
He covers a very wide swath in his examination of that very un-pacific Atlantic. Beginning with big-picture geology, he looks at the infant Atlantic and gives a preview of what the world will look like when the Atlantic is no more. There is plenty here about tectonics, volcanism and the mighty forces of a planet that is constantly changing. But his primary focus in on the relationship of people to the Atlantic.
He looks at a host of firsts across many disciplines, the first to cross the ocean, the first paintings centered on the ocean, the first poems, stories, etc. He tells how Islamic control of both ends of the Mediterranean contributed to European expansion across the less contested Atlantic, round about 1492. Much attention is paid to the Atlantic as an arena for battle, from the earliest seagoing battles to contemporary submarine warfare, with a surprising entry here on the importance of chestnuts to munitions manufacture, and of how technical expertise re weapons production influenced the creation of a state decades later. He looks at how trade became a basis for 11th and 12century globalization, traces the development of commercial oceanic trade, and brings it all up to date with a look at current Atlantic traffic, both asea and aloft. He offers a look at some of the ecological implications of that commerce, and notes new technologies that hopefully will mitigate, somewhat, the harm that commerce causes. He also looks at the impact of overfishing.
Atlantic is not a fast read. I suppose that is because of the huge quantity of facts presented. But it is well worth the time.
Some might argue that Winchester has over-reached, that such a globe-girdling tale cannot truly be distilled into a meager 459 pages. (the page count in my pre-release copy may not match the final number) Perhaps the subject is too large for a single volume. But do not be dissuaded by this. Winchester has put together a vast array of fascinating material, diving deep to find bits information that will surprise and please. Winchester’s Atlantic covers many aspects of the great ocean, which seems fitting when one considers the reach of the ocean itself. I had the pleasure recently of being at a lake in Montana that spreads its waters in three directions, one of which is towards the Atlantic. How remarkable the reach of this vast body of water. What a titanic (couldn’t resist) achievement that Winchester has offered us all an opportunity to recognize just how important this body of water is to humanity, to our survival, to our history, to our politics, to our culture, to our art, to our very identity and to our future. The Atlantic Ocean only has another 170 million years before it succumbs to the demands of geology and perishes. So there is not a minute to spare. Swim out to your store and pick up a copy while there is still time.
11/25/13 – My GR pal, Cathy D sent along this link to a fascinating article that concerns the Big A. Seems a large object dropped in on us at what is now the Chesapeake Bay and scientists recently found an explanation for some heretofore inexplicable inland water that was unusually salty.
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Read information about the authorSimon Winchester, OBE, is a British writer, journalist and broadcaster who resides in the United States. Through his career at The Guardian, Winchester covered numerous significant events including Bloody Sunday and the Watergate Scandal. As an author, Simon Winchester has written or contributed to over a dozen nonfiction books and authored one novel, and his articles appear in several travel publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Smithsonian Magazine, and National Geographic.
In 1969, Winchester joined The Guardian, first as regional correspondent based in Newcastle upon Tyne, but was later assigned to be the Northern Ireland Correspondent. Winchester's time in Northern Ireland placed him around several events of The Troubles, including the events of Bloody Sunday and the Belfast Hour of Terror.
After leaving Northern Ireland in 1972, Winchester was briefly assigned to Calcutta before becoming The Guardian's American correspondent in Washington, D.C., where Winchester covered news ranging from the end of Richard Nixon's administration to the start of Jimmy Carter's presidency. In 1982, while working as the Chief Foreign Feature Writer for The Sunday Times, Winchester was on location for the invasion of the Falklands Islands by Argentine forces. Suspected of being a spy, Winchester was held as a prisoner in Tierra del Fuego for three months.
Winchester's first book, In Holy Terror, was published by Faber and Faber in 1975. The book drew heavily on his first-hand experiences during the turmoils in Ulster. In 1976, Winchester published his second book, American Heartbeat, which dealt with his personal travels through the American heartland. Winchester's third book, Prison Diary, was a recounting of his imprisonment at Tierra del Fuego during the Falklands War and, as noted by Dr Jules Smith, is responsible for his rise to prominence in the United Kingdom. Throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s, Winchester produced several travel books, most of which dealt with Asian and Pacific locations including Korea, Hong Kong, and the Yangtze River.
Winchester's first truly successful book was The Professor and the Madman (1998), published by Penguin UK as The Surgeon of Crowthorne. Telling the story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, the book was a New York Times Best Seller, and Mel Gibson optioned the rights to a film version, likely to be directed by John Boorman.
Though Winchester still writes travel books, he has repeated the narrative non-fiction form he used in The Professor and the Madman several times, many of which ended in books placed on best sellers lists. His 2001 book, The Map that Changed the World, focused on geologist William Smith and was Whichester's second New York Times best seller. The year 2003 saw Winchester release another book on the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, The Meaning of Everything, as well as the best-selling Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded. Winchester followed Krakatoa's volcano with San Francisco's 1906 earthquake in A Crack in the Edge of the World. The Man Who Loved China (2008) retells the life of eccentric Cambridge scholar Joseph Needham, who helped to expose China to the western world. Winchester's latest book, The Alice Behind Wonderland, was released March 11, 2011.
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