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Simon Winchester´s Atlantic

December 13, 2010 by Reader's Connection

Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million StoriesThere are people who love the Atlantic Ocean, and there are people who love the Atlantic Ocean. My love stems from summer weeks spent as a boy on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. Simon Winchester, on the other hand, was jailed in Tierra del Fuego at the outbreak of the Falklands War. An Argentine naval officer ran up to his cell and yelled, “We have sunk one of your ships! We Argentines have sunk a Royal Navy ship! You are going to lose this war!” Years later, the officer apologized.

Winchester has attended a Lutheran service, for the blessing of long-drowned sailors, on Mykines, the westernmost of the Faroe Islands in the far north Atlantic. He has marvelled at the city of Jamestown, on the mid-Atlantic island of St. Helena, and he revealingly contrasts New York City and Cape Town, South Africa. This guy has been everywhere Atlantic, and his feelings for that sea are many-faceted.

He combines his knowledge of history and his love of sailing to write Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories. The subtitle isn’t as bombastic as it sounds. I have just begun the sea-battles chapter, and the whole book thus far has been, for this Atlantic-loving reader, a magnificent voyage.

But I’m being all weepy and wide-eyed, here. Don’t allow my biases to discourage you from giving Atlantic a chance. If you have no particular feelings about the sea at our nation’s eastern border, Winchester might be the fellow to change that.

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