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5.0 out of 5 stars Geography and history lessons through recreating the past - another great nautical journey in the spirit of Kon Tiki, 9 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Sindbad Voyage (Kindle Edition)
Tim Severin - possibly known to younger readers more for his fiction output (the Viking 1: Odinn's Child No. 1 trilogy or the Corsair trilogy) - has been one of the geographers / historians who like to test their theories experimentally. In this case it means looking at the plausibility of Arab seafaring all the way to China, summarised under the 'Sindbad stories' motto.

The book - his second of the kind after The Brendan Voyage - follows the author's attempt to build an Arab sailing vessel of the 8th cetury AD technological level (meaning all wooden, with coconut hust ropes instead of nails for binding) and sailing it from Oman all the way to Cantonese China, with intermediate stops in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Hong Kong, i.e. along the trading routes used by Arab (primarily Omani) seafarers.

As everything from planning, over construction to the actual sailing and day to day life on the vessel is covered, one gets an excellent overview of the challenges that would be faced by these ancient seafarers and the success of the undertaking validates the feasibility of at least the seafaring aspects of Sindbad's Voyages from the 8th century AD.

Given that the journey happened in 1982 the descriptions and relationships to both the Arab world in general and Oman in particular, and China are - from the perspective of the strained tenor of the last two decades - refreshingly positive and nicely balanced.

It may not be quite a page turner like his works of fiction but it will read very well for someone interested in the topic - either history, geography, or matters nautical. And if you felt Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific by Raft, The Brendan Voyage or other books of the kind are your thing, I can only recommend the book.
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4.2 out of 5 stars (9 customer reviews)
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Location: London

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