Until a thousand years ago, no humans ventured into the Atlantic or imagined traversing its vast infinitude. But once the first daring mariners successfully navigated to far shores—the Vikings, the Irish, the Chinese, Christopher Columbus in the north, or the Portuguese and the Spanish in the south—the Atlantic evolved in the world’s growing consciousness. Atlantic is a biography of this immense space, of a sea which has defined and determined so much about the lives of the millions who live beside or near its tens of thousands of miles of coast. The Atlantic has been central to the ambitions of explorers, scientists and warriors, and it continues to affect our attitudes and dreams. Poets to potentates, seers to sailors, fishermen to foresters—all have a relationship with this great body of blue-green sea and regard her as friend or foe, adversary or ally, depending on circumstance or fortune. Simon Winchester chronicles that relationship, making the Atlantic come vividly alive. Spanning the earth’s geological origins and the age of exploration, World War II battles and modern pollution, his narrative is epic and awe-inspiring.
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