Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories

Simon Winchester

Language: English

Pages: 495

ISBN: 0061702625

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"Variably genial, cautionary, lyrical, admonitory, terrifying, horrifying and inspiring…A lifetime of thought, travel, reading, imagination and memory inform this affecting account." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Blending history and anecdote, geography and reminiscence, science and exposition, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester tells the breathtaking saga of the Atlantic Ocean. A gifted storyteller and consummate historian, Winchester sets the great blue sea's epic narrative against the backdrop of mankind's intellectual evolution, telling not only the story of an ocean, but the story of civilization. Fans of Winchester's Krakatoa, The Man Who Loved China, and The Professor and the Madman will love this masterful, penetrating, and resonant tale of humanity finding its way across the ocean of history.



















of the true and eventual Atlantic Ocean. • • • The modern and recognizable world began to come about some 250 million years later—250 million years ago, indeed—during the end of the Permian and the beginning of the Triassic eras. It was a process that got under way when four of the original protocontinental jigsaw pieces collided and formed themselves into the one supercontinent that has since managed to achieve wide familiarity: the great body known as Pangaea. This vast entity contained every

from Bristol westward on commission from England’s King Henry VII. His eventual landings in Newfoundland and on the Labrador coast make him in all likelihood the first post-Viking European to reach North America—an achievement that was, of course, denied to Christopher Columbus. 60 Baleen whales lack conventional teeth but have a series of filters in their (often enormous) mouths. The other division of cetaceans, the toothed whales, includes the sperm whales, the belugas, narwhals,

plight of those impoverished low-lying countries that are likely to be submerged. The Maldives in the Indian Ocean and Tuvalu in the Pacific are most frequently mentioned, and some small islands off the coast of Bangladesh have begun to disappear already. 88 Many Liberian towns were named to honor an American president—Monrovia, the capital, was named for President James Monroe. Buchanan might be supposed to honor President James Buchanan, but it was in fact named for his cousin Thomas, the

longer sea voyage without stops than any hitherto known—and since no navigator knew the extent of the sea into which they were heading, it must have been frightening: would they fall off the edge of the world, would they reach an area of impossible storms, were there sea monsters, whirlpools, angry gods? But by great good fortune the three tiny vessels sashayed their way over the waves quite easily, their logs sometimes recording passages of more than 150 miles a day, cruising at up to eight

oceans, and the Atlantic in particular, into a very different arena for the conduct of war. Ships that in the sailing age could find and engage one another only with frustrating infrequency now could arrange to rendezvous—whether for reasons peaceful or belligerent scarcely matters—and with accuracy, regularity, and reliability. Warfare that had become more tactically organized now became more geographically directed; and when these developments were supplemented by the creation of weapons of

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