Customer Reviews


20 Reviews
5 star:
 (9)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge subject admirably dealt with
Simon Winchester adds to his growing ouevre and reputation with this enthralling and fascinating book. What could have been a daunting read is made simple and enjoyable by the author's chatty and good humoured style - you get the impression that he would be a fine companion over a pint or two. This is not just a geographic study though. Historical and social aspects of...
Published on 3 Oct 2010 by Big Jim

versus
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bobbing around in the doldrums
If you're anticipating something akin to Mark Kurlansky's "Cod" or "Salt" you might well be somewhat disappointed by Atlantic.
In Simon Winchester's favour, he is erudite, informed, and wherever it is he writes about, he has been there and seen for himself. But he's much harder work for the reader. One minute you're storming along with the wind in your sails, and...
Published on 19 April 2011 by Leabhar


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge subject admirably dealt with, 3 Oct 2010
By 
Big Jim "Big Jim" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Simon Winchester adds to his growing ouevre and reputation with this enthralling and fascinating book. What could have been a daunting read is made simple and enjoyable by the author's chatty and good humoured style - you get the impression that he would be a fine companion over a pint or two. This is not just a geographic study though. Historical and social aspects of the ocean are admirably dealt with the voyages of discovery, slavery and environmental issues all being covered in some depth. There are many interesting and diverting stories in this book and all in all I can't recommend this book highly enough.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colourful stories in historical context, 5 Mar 2011
By 
M. Hillmann "miles" (leicester, england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Simon Winchester is a story teller and a romantic - historical context, detail and colour brings this book to life. He dedicates the book to Able Seaman Angus Campbell McIntyre who was shipwrecked in 1942 on the notorious coast of Namibia in the South Atlantic in a failed attempt to rescue survivors from the SS Dunedin who had been similarly shipwrecked. Stories like this abound.

But he paints on a wider canvas to describe the importance of the Atlantic over the years - an ocean that with today's air travel does not have a high profile. For example parliamentary democracy as it is understood today was very much an Atlantic creation. No such institutions arose in Russia or China or Greece. The Icelandic Rock of Laws set the pattern for governance of the rest of the world, mimicked by the Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Britain.

He approaches the Atlantic from all angles, from its early exploration to pirates and the slave trade; from sea battles through the ages to commerce; from the laying of the transatlantic cable and air routes across the ocean to climate change, ocean currents and receding ice cap.

The question of what motivated men to make the dangerous voyage into the Atlantic before America was "discovered" is answered by fish and whales. He makes a convincing case that the Norsemen created settlements in Newfoundland and Labrador between 975 and 1020 AD. The allure of fish, and specifically cod, drew the Vikings and the Basques as well as John Cabot who named Newfoundland before the imperial claims made by Christopher Colombus in 1492.

The technical tribulations of the USS Niagra and HMS Agamemnon in laying 2,500 miles of transatlantic cable in 1857 is ascribed as the most ambitious construction project ever envisaged in the world. The visionary and financier behind the project was Cyrus Field. After only 15 days the cable succumbed to some unknown submarine malady and no further cable was laid until Brunel's Great Eastern in 1866. By 1900 there were 15 cables but then in 1901 Marconi successfully sent the first radio signal across the Atlantic. The "distance in time" across the Atlantic rapidly diminished.

The immense research and colourful stories makes it another of Winchester's compelling books.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Epic Ocean, 30 May 2013
By 
Nico (Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories (Paperback)
What an interesting concept writing a book about the history of an Ocean? It works well because Simon Winchester is able to combine geomorphology and human history so well together and come up with an absolutely fascinating story. The time scales involved are just immense it's hard to imagine that once the Atlantic Ocean didn't exist and some time in the future will cease to exist again. From a human history perspective it is also fascinating. Clearly the Atlantic has been the most significant of all the worlds Ocean's since the industrial revolution, if not before. It deserves a wonderful accounts of it's life thus far. This book delivers that account. I would highly recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vastness, 19 April 2013
By 
K. Steele "word fanatic" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories (Paperback)
Simon Winchester has taken the Atlantic ocean and its coast lines and drawn a picture of history across it. Imagine if you can, because I couldn't before I read it. From the beginning when ships first dared to sail far enough to discover the world was not flat. The action and importance of the ocean during the WWars, the life of the people through time living on the coasts of Africa and America and other small islands. If you're interested in history from another angle this is for you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bobbing around in the doldrums, 19 April 2011
By 
If you're anticipating something akin to Mark Kurlansky's "Cod" or "Salt" you might well be somewhat disappointed by Atlantic.
In Simon Winchester's favour, he is erudite, informed, and wherever it is he writes about, he has been there and seen for himself. But he's much harder work for the reader. One minute you're storming along with the wind in your sails, and the next you're becalmed in the doldrums with every page seeming to take an age.

The root problem is the structure. In any book of this type readers will find some bits fascinating, other bits dull. But there is no means of selecting your personal passage through this book, which lays itself out as a continuous narrative. It's worth repeating here that the subtitle is "A vast ocean of a million stories" just to underline how counter-intuitive this structure is. More perversely, the oblique chapter headings give no advance indication of their subject matter.
Two fellow readers agreed with me that the first chapter is the most frustrating hurdle of all. I was instantly intrigued by the opening passage recalling a liner voyage to Canada, only to find the social history cut short and morphing into geology and the shifting of tectonic plates - a subject that (for me) redefines slow and makes drying paint seem like watching a DVD on fast-forward.
I felt like a bar across the harbour mouth was in my way, with all the call and adventures of the ocean so tantalisingly close but withheld from me.
Persevere and Atlantic has its rewards - but it isn't the book it could be.
One unfortunate error (let's be fair, a volume this wide-ranging will have one or two) - Barra Head is not the northernmost tip of the Hebrides.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Simon never disappoints, 16 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Atlantic lived up to my expectations with a gripping account of many facets of the Atlantic. Typical of Simon Winchester, it was difficult to put down once I started Chapter 1.
What's next from this author?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read on an unusual subject., 24 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories (Paperback)
Simon Winchester really knows how to tell a good story. Although some of the chapters appear a bit laboured overall it was a good read and quite informative.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Atlantic, 6 Oct 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories (Paperback)
Krakatoa was vastly entertaining and informative and Atlantic comes up to the same high standard. It's a book to treasure.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars excellent history of the atlantic, 9 April 2013
By 
Mr. Robert Marsland (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories (Paperback)
Even just to dip into Atlantic you are given a brilliantly told history of man and this ocean, whether talking of how the first humans ever to settle did so at the tip of Africa in caves, or the search for whelks producing the sought after colour purple, or how the first parliaments formed in the Atlantic region, of whales and whaling, of Columbus, of transatlantic flight and many other interesting topics as well. This is a fascinating, well-written and thoroughly researched book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars ok, 17 Mar 2013
By 
peterR (Hitchin, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories (Paperback)
Interesting.

fxvlo[ tok st tplsh psdrtgp[ fg dftgop sdrt tyoko otgho[-b xfg-we5kt-0 k-5kt-b s-ty-b st-x -t--0-stg-0st -dtg0b -drtg kz-bg k
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories
Atlantic: A Vast Ocean of a Million Stories by Simon Winchester (Paperback - 7 July 2011)
6.89
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews