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Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers

Category: Book
By (author): Winchester, Simon
Subject:  HISTORY / Expeditions & Discoveries
  HISTORY / General
  HISTORY / World
  TRAVEL / Essays & Travelogues
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: October 2015
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 512
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in x 1.53in
Our Price:
$ 35.99
Available to order

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

From New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester, author of Atlantic and The Men Who United the States, a colorful and provocative exploration of the modern Pacific Ocean-what it has been and the grip it holds on our future

Simon Winchester tackles this "oceanic behemoth of eye-watering complexity" by focusing on key moments since 1950 that speak to the greater trends and larger truths about the ocean's significance to us today.

Winchester leads us from the Bering Strait to Cape Horn, the Yangtze River to the Panama Canal, and to the many small islands that lie in between. He recounts the atomic tests on the atoll of Bikini, which created a surreal landscape that must still be left vacant for fear of radiation poisoning. He takes us to the launch of "Gidget"-her movies, her TV show, and, most important, her surfboards, which would forever change how the world's youth views a rising wave. Pacific also tells the story of the little transistor radio and how it sparked the digital revolution, from Japan to Silicon Valley, altering the ocean's destiny. Winchester includes tales of alarming discoveries on the Great Barrier Reef and grand expeditions to mysterious vents on the ocean's floor. He examines the geopolitical shifts that shaped the ocean's vast land areas, from the rise of North Korea's rogue state to the end of European colonization, and addresses the environmental degradation and climate shifts that now threaten this majestic body of water.

Along the way, Winchester looks at the political turmoil in Australia, the relationship between the Koreas, and recent confrontations that engaged China and the United States. "The Pacific," he writes, "is the ocean where, quite literally, East meets West. . . . [T]here is challenge in the air, the sound of clashing swords and angry words."

Calling upon Winchester's many journeys throughout the Pacific and its surrounding areas, his formidable historical understanding, and his singular talent for storytelling, Pacific is a paean to this magnificent sea of beauty and myth that has long captured the imagination.

From The Publisher*

One of Library Journal's 10 Best Books of 2015

Following his acclaimed Atlantic and The Men Who United the States, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester offers an enthralling biography of the Pacific Ocean and its role in the modern world, exploring our relationship with this imposing force of nature.

As the Mediterranean shaped the classical world, and the Atlantic connected Europe to the New World, the Pacific Ocean defines our tomorrow. With China on the rise, so, too, are the American cities of the West coast, including Seattle, San Francisco, and the long cluster of towns down the Silicon Valley.

Today, the Pacific is ascendant. Its geological history has long transformed us-tremendous earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis-but its human history, from a Western perspective, is quite young, beginning with Magellan's sixteenth-century circumnavigation. It is a natural wonder whose most fascinating history is currently being made.

In telling the story of the Pacific, Simon Winchester takes us from the Bering Strait to Cape Horn, the Yangtze River to the Panama Canal, and to the many small islands and archipelagos that lie in between. He observes the fall of a dictator in Manila, visits aboriginals in northern Queensland, and is jailed in Tierra del Fuego, the land at the end of the world. His journey encompasses a trip down the Alaska Highway, a stop at the isolated Pitcairn Islands, a trek across South Korea and a glimpse of its mysterious northern neighbor.

Winchester's personal experience is vast and his storytelling second to none. And his historical understanding of the region is formidable, making Pacific a paean to this magnificent sea of beauty, myth, and imagination that is transforming our lives.

Review Quote*"Revealing... delightful... fascinating... highly recommended."
Review Quote*"Winchester does a virtuoso job. ... A giant Aladdin's rug, which he then gamely invites his readers to climb aboard."
Review Quote*"Fascinating, provocative, and at times, mildly terrifying. ... The hallmarks of Winchester's best work -- a fertile, curious mind, impeccable research and command of complex material -- are on full display here."
Review Quote*"Winchester writes books like someone telling a good yarn around the fireplace... by interweaving history, fascinating trivia, and acute observation."
Review Quote*"Winchester has a smooth and easy prose style, one that is trustable and clear. ... He excels at guiding the reader with a contagious sense of wonder."
Review Quote*"[Winchester is] a terrific raconteur with a knack for making connectiosn that might have eluded you between events behind the headlines. ... Where Pacific opts to go, it goes with savvy and verve."
Review Quote*"A series of high-resolution literary snapshots. ... As we've come to expect from Winchester, there are plenty of delights. ... Winchester's passionate research... undergirds this superb analysis of a world wonder."
Review Quote*"Winchester is a terrific helmsman, both confident and smooth."