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.












Elliott. In the old Scottish tradition of leaving a stone on a mountain cairn, I had long wanted to leave something on this grave, if ever I was able to visit it. I am not at all ashamed to say that I was very moved, standing there in the Atlantic wind, listening to the growling of the surf, beside this lonely little grave. And so, although I knew at the time that this would be a sentimental gesture, I wrote a note. It said quite simply, Thank You for Trying. Now Rest in Peace. I signed it and

Newton, Isaac, 121 Newton, John, 231, 233 New World discovery of, by Christopher Columbus, 85–90 first mapping and naming of, as America, 91–97 Spanish conquest and warfare in, 215–23 Viking settlement in, by Leif Eriksson, 75–85 warfare against pirates in, 221–29 New York, Newfoundland, and London Telegraph Company, 305–10 New York City, 166n, 175 f, 177–81, 291–92, 416–17 Niagara (ship), 132, 306–8 Nicolson, Harold, 259 Nicotine, 84n, 90 Niger River, 146 Nightingale Island, 437–38

the tiny capital of Tristan da Cunha (the Atlantic’s, and the world’s, most isolated inhabited island), had survived an assassination attempt while having a picnic in Sydney (his Irish assailant was hanged for having dared try), and had married the daughter of the Russian czar, Marie, who still has a popular biscuit named after her. 37 This can on occasion be a risky procedure: when a member of the royal family visited the island in the mid-1980s, the ruling governor, in his best uniform of

between Heathrow and Kennedy would slip almost casually into their welcoming announcement that “our track today will take us over Iceland”—with a slight emphasis on the word today, as if yesterday the flight was much the same except that it had passed over Greenland, or the Faroes. Or else they told the passengers that “the 177” or whatever the flight number might be, and so sounding studiedly casual, would be passing “a little farther north than usual, due to strong headwinds, and we’ll make our

Atlantic story: a proper framework for the book I planned to write, a stage setting that would transmute all the themes of ocean life into players, progressing from infancy to senescence, so that all could be permitted to play their parts in turn. The Ages are those we remember, if scantily, from childhood, and are listed in Jacques’s all too famously gloomy monologue: At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms; And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel, And shining

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