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The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean

The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean

Hardback

By (author) David S. H. Abulafia

List price $47.00

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Format
Paperback $17.15
  • Publisher: ALLEN LANE
  • Format: Hardback | 816 pages
  • Dimensions: 170mm x 242mm x 54mm | 1,379g
  • Publication date: 5 May 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0713999349
  • ISBN 13: 9780713999341
  • Illustrations note: 24 pages colour
  • Sales rank: 49,422

Product description

This title is "Sunday Times" History Book of the Year. For over three thousand years, the Mediterranean Sea has been one of the great centres of world civilisation. From the time of historical Troy until the middle of the nineteenth century, human activity here decisively shaped much of the course of world history. David Abulafia's "The Great Sea" is the first complete history of the Mediterranean from the erection of the mysterious temples on Malta around 3500 BC to the recent reinvention of the Mediterranean's shores as a tourist destination. Part of the argument of Abulafia's book is that the great port cities - Alexandria, Trieste and Salonika and many others - prospered in part because of their ability to allow many different people, religions and identities to co-exist within sometimes very confined spaces. He also brilliantly populates his history with identifiable individuals whose lives illustrate with great immediacy the wider developments he is describing. "The Great Sea" ranges stupendously across time and the whole extraordinary space of the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to Jaffa, Venice to Alexandria. Rather than imposing a false unity on the sea and the teeming human activity it has sustained, the book emphasises diversity - ethnic, linguistic, religious and political. Anyone who reads it will leave it with their understanding of those societies and their histories enormously enriched.

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Author information

David Abulafia is Professor of Mediterranean History at the University of Cambridge, and a fellow of Gonville and Caius College, and was until recently Chairman of the Cambridge History Faculty. His previous books include Frederick II and The Western Mediterranean Kingdoms. He is a member of the Academia Europaea, and in 2003 was made Commendatore dell'Ordine della Stella della Solidarieta Italiana in recognition of his work on Italian and Mediterranean history.

Review quote

The greatest living historian of the Mediterranean -- Andrew Roberts A towering achievement. No review can really do justice to the scale of Abulafia's achievement: in its epic sweep, eye for detail and lucid style. -- Dominic Sandbrook Sunday Times Brocaded with studious observation and finely-tuned scholarship, the overall effect is mesmerising. -- Ian Thomson Independent A memorable study, its scholarship tinged with indulgent humour and an authorial eye for bizarre detail. -- Jonathan Keates Sunday Telegraph The story is teeming with colourful characters, and Abulafia wears his scholarship lightly, even dashingly. -- Simon Sebag Montefiore Financial Times