A Vast Ocean of A Million Stories

Downloadable Audiobook
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
Blends history and anecdote, geography and reminiscence, and science and exposition, to relate the saga of the Atlantic Ocean, setting it against the backdrop of mankind's intellectual evolution.

Findaway World Llc
Atlantic is a biography of a tremendous space that has been central to the ambitions of explorers, scientists, and warriors, and continues profoundly to affect our character, attitudes, and dreams. Simon Winchester makes the Atlantic come vividly alive. Spanning the ocean's story from its geological origins to the age of exploration—covering the Vikings, the Irish, the Basques, John Cabot, and Christopher Columbus in the north, and the Portuguese and the Spanish in the south—and from World War II battles to today's struggles with pollution and overfishing, his narrative is epic, intimate, and awe inspiring. More than a mere history, this is an unforgettable journey of unprecedented scope by one of the most gifted writers in the English language.

Publisher: London : Harper Press
Copyright Date: ©2010
ISBN: 9780307876539
Branch Call Number: eAudiobook
Characteristics: 1 sound file : digital
audio file
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jun 27, 2016

I liked Pacific & Atlantic equally. For me this is a read/audio I can pick up at any point & get interested, learn, lead me toward other aspects. It doesn't bother me that he gets sidetracked with other stories, he seems to bring it back & tie in with title. Yes, he's anglocentric, yes, he likes 'the sound of his own voice'...he is totally consumed with his subject.

Oct 06, 2013

A complex tome. In fact, many stories/ tales within this work.

Cdnbookworm Mar 24, 2011

Having read other books by Winchester, I was delighted to pick up this one and even more so to discover that he was reading it.
He uses a very interesting structure to tell the story of the Atlantic Ocean, Shakespeare's Seven Ages. He begins the book by telling of his own first experience of travelling the ocean, going over to Montreal on the Empress of Britain in 1963 (by coincidence, my birth year!). Then he talks about the structure he will use.
For the first age "At first the infant, mewling and puking in the nurse's arms" includes the physical and geographic history of the ocean, how it came to me and what it consists of. The second age, "the whining schoolboy with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school", tells the story of discovery. We see the various expeditionary trips across, the misconceptions, the discovery that it was really a bridge to a new land, and all the things we learned about it.
The third age, "the lover, sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad made to his mistress' eyebrow" includes the ocean in art. We hear of poems, prose, paintings, architecture, and music. This is a wealth of wonderful references to the influence of the Atlantic in culture. The fourth age, "a soldier, full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel, seeking the bubble reputation even in the cannon's mouth" covers the wars fought across and in the Atlantic and they include many battles. The fifth age, "the justice in fair round belly, with good capon lin'd, with eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, full of wise saws, and modern instances" includes trade and commerce. Covered here is not only the trade across the ocean, and around the ocean, but also the commerce of the ocean's wealth, marine life. We see the wealth of the ocean in the fisheries within it.
The sixth age, "the lean and slipper'd pantaloon, with spectacles on nose, and pouch on side, his youthful hose well sav'd, a world too wide, for his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice, turning again towards childish treble, pipes and whistles in his sound" covers the shrinking of the ocean. This is the easy crossing of the ocean, using the new technology of flight; the diminishing of its fisheries due to overuse; the effect of pollution both in and above it, and the lack of respect man has paid to it. The final section, the seventh age, "second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything" looks at the future of the ocean. Will it be able to overcome what we and nature have done to it? Is there hope for new life? As the world warms and ice melts, and the ocean grows, how will that affect those who live around and on it? Will it fight back with more large natural events like hurricanes and tsunamis? Raising lots of interesting questions, this section offers new information, ways to look forward and hope for the future.
Winchester finishes with another personal experience, an Atlantic shipwreak on the skeleton coast that captured his imagination and drew him to search it out and leave his own mark.
As usual, Winchester takes a large topic, makes it come alive and allows us to see its many aspects, and ignites our imaginations. Wonderful.

Mar 23, 2011

The first half of the book is great--really very interesting. The second half is a dramatic account of injustice on the high seas that has been covered better elsewhere.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at IndyPL

To Top