Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: Atlantic (2010) by Simon Winchester

Atlantic (2010)
Simon Winchester

It was my brother who introduced me to Simon Winchester's Krakatoa, a marvelous book which tells the fascinating story of the great volcano.  I am always pleased to find an author like this, one who can present science as well as history and culture, and make it all utterly captivating.

Now Winchester has decided to tell the story of the vast Atlantic Ocean, a task too broad for most of us even to contemplate.  He has chosen to organize this information using Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man, a device that seems to work well enough in its offbeat dramatic way.  Winchester's Atlantic is quite up to date and includes some major geologic news events of 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico and in Iceland.  His discussion of global warming is reasonable, maybe too reasonable, but he's trying to stay out of the political circus surrounding this topic. The book is by it's very nature not quite as focussed as Krakatoa, but it does cover a lot more ground--or rather, sea.

J. M. W. Turner, The Wreck of the Minotaur

Note:  And don't forget my brief review of Winchester's Krakatoa (2003) here.


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