Beyond the Blue Horizon

Beyond the Blue Horizon

How the Earliest Mariners Unlocked the Secrets of the Oceans

Book - 2012
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In Beyond the Blue Horizon , archaeologist and historian Brian Fagan tackles his richest topic yet: the enduring quest to master the oceans, the planet's most mysterious terrain. We know the tales of Columbus and Captain Cook, yet much earlier mariners made equally bold and world-changing voyages. From the moment when ancient Polynesians first dared to sail beyond the horizon, Fagan vividly explains how our mastery of the oceans changed the course of human history.

What drove humans to risk their lives on open water? How did early sailors unlock the secrets of winds, tides, and the stars they steered by? What were the earliest ocean crossings like? With compelling detail, Fagan reveals how seafaring evolved so that the forbidding realms of the sea gods were transformed from barriers into a nexus of commerce and cultural exchange. From bamboo rafts in the Java Sea to triremes in the Aegean, from Norse longboats to sealskin kayaks in Alaska, Fagan craftsa captivating narrative of humanity's urge to challenge the unknown and seek out distant shores. Beyond the Blue Horizon will enthrall readers who enjoyed Dava Sobel's Longitude , Simon Winchester's Atlantic , and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel.

Publisher: New York, NY : Bloomsbury Press, 2012.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9781608190058
Branch Call Number: 910.45 FAG
Characteristics: xx, 313 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm


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Feb 26, 2018

Enjoyable reading even for the landlubber. Lots of history here from the time of prehistory. Early ships and early trading routes; early trade goods and the weather that propelled the trade. This is sailing not as it is but as it was and how it is thought to have been. For the student of history and trade this is very informative.

Dec 27, 2017

Beyond the Blue Horizon tells the story of water travel throughout human history. Chronically Fagan reveals and speculates about early settlers in what is now Indonesia daring to cross the water to get to island on a line-of-sight basis around 40,000 years ago. Next he takes on the Aegean Sea, the eastern Mediterranean the Red Sea the Indian and Arab sailers that used the monsoons to establish trade between present day Pakistan and western Africa.

Fagan then proceeds to reveal trade developed between the Mediterranean and Britain, Ireland and Baltic and Scandinavian countries. What follows is Viking and Norse conquest and exploitation of resources and peoples from Europe to Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland. Obviously, this is well past the time of line-of-sight sailing and paddling. The vessels the various peoples employed were also different for different requirements and using those materials to make boats and ships that were available in their part of the world.

The last chapters focus on the Aleuts and native peoples in what is now British Columbia and as far as the Channel Island off the coast of California. Plus the coastal natives of Peru and Equador trading with the Maya in present day Mexico. The Maya were not sea faring people but traded with the South American tribes for shells and conchs they valued.

Not a read for everybody for sure. Informative but not riveting.

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