Beyond the Blue Horizon: How the Earliest Mariners Unlocked the Secrets of the Oceans

Beyond the Blue Horizon: How the Earliest Mariners Unlocked the Secrets of the Oceans


By (author) Professor of Anthropology Brian M Fagan

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  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Format: Hardback | 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 236mm x 30mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 3 July 2012
  • ISBN 10: 1608190056
  • ISBN 13: 9781608190058
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Sales rank: 242,791

Product description

In "Beyond the Blue Horizon," archaeologist and historian Brian Fagan tackles his richest topic yet: the enduring quest to master the oceans, the planet's most mysterious terrain. We know the tales of Columbus and Captain Cook, yet much earlier mariners made equally bold and world-changing voyages. From the moment when ancient Polynesians first dared to sail beyond the horizon, Fagan vividly explains how our mastery of the oceans changed the course of human history. What drove humans to risk their lives on open water? How did early sailors unlock the secrets of winds, tides, and the stars they steered by? What were the earliest ocean crossings like? With compelling detail, Fagan reveals how seafaring evolved so that the forbidding realms of the sea gods were transformed from barriers into a nexus of commerce and cultural exchange. From bamboo rafts in the Java Sea to triremes in the Aegean, from Norse longboats to sealskin kayaks in Alaska, Fagan crafts a captivating narrative of humanity's urge to challenge the unknown and seek out distant shores. "Beyond the Blue Horizon "will enthrall readers who enjoyed Dava Sobel's "Longitude," Simon Winchester's "Atlantic," and Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel."

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Author information

Brian Fagan is emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of "Elixir," the "Los Angeles Times" bestseller "Cro-Magnon," and the New York Times bestseller "The Great Warming," and many other books, including "Fish on Friday, The Long Summer," and "The Little Ice Age." He has decades of experience at sea and is the author of several titles for sailors, including the widely praised "Cruising Guide to Central and Southern California."

Review quote

"Combining his talents as a navigator, archaeologist and historian, Brian Fagan takes us on an enthralling tour of the world as its shores were being opened up by the first seamen to cross the oceans and the major seas. One could not hope for a more engaging skipper."--David Abulafia, Cambridge University, author of "The Great Sea""Tacking between first-person anecdotes, archeological explanations, and fictionalized scenes from the distant past, this salty work of historical imagination travels with the Micronesian outriggers that ferried moai carvers to Easter Island, the Egyptian timber barges that carried the cedars of Lebanon to the pharaohs, and the black ships that brought the Greek heroes to the gates of Troy...Fagan has produced a loving tribute to their achievement.""--Publishers Weekly""Fagan's newest archaeological work benefits from his own seafaring experiences... sure to pique the interest of maritime readers... A thoughtful presenter, Fagan accords a suitable awe to the intrepid sailors of prehistory and ancient history.""--Booklist""Enthralling... Fagan effectively intersperses observations from his own extensive sailing experience as he ponders how ancient mariners might have responded to various sea conditions and what may have initially caused them to take to the sea. VERDICT: Fagan paints a thoroughly fascinating portrait of the intricate interaction among ocean, climate, and humanity in the many parts of the world where seafaring cultures developed. This excellent book is sure to appeal to readers with some background and interest in world archaeology and history.""--Library Journal "(starred review)