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Beyond the Blue Horizon

We know the tales of Columbus and Captain Cook, yet much earlier mariners made equally bold and world-changing voyages. 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. 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 in the North Atlantic to sealskin kayaks in Alaska, Fagan crafts a captivating narrative of humanity's urge to challenge the unknown and seek out distant shores.
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New York Times-bestselling author Brian Fagan offers a vibrant history of how humans have transformed the seas into highways that connect distant cultures and shaped world civilisation.

About the Author

Brian Fagan is emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Elixir, the Los Angeles Times bestseller Cro-Magnon, and the New York Times bestseller The Great Warming, and many other books, including Fish on Friday, The Long Summer and The Little Ice Age. He has decades of experience at sea.


A vivid picture of the nautical experiences endured by the first sailors who, in tiny canoes and rafts, made astonishing ocean-wide journeys more than 50,000 years ago and who laid the planet open to human conquest * Robin McKie, Observer * He is a beguiling writer and his lessons from global experience are both refreshing and sobering * Daily Express [on Elixir] * In addition to his solid research, he has unearthed a variety of entertainingly off-piste anecdotes ... These stories provide welcome glimpses of humanity in a narrative spanning centuries * Daily Telegraph [on Elixir] * Fagan is probably the world's most widely read archaeologist...fascinating...Once again, Brian Fagan has given us a gem of a book * Mail on Sunday [on Elixir] *

When and why did prehistoric people decide to venture out upon the world's oceans? What were their motivations for traveling across such large expanses in primitive vessels? In this enthralling work, Fagan (anthropology, emeritus, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans) attempts to answer these questions, examining seafaring traditions in a number of world regions. He begins with early voyaging in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, then covers a long span of prehistoric seafaring in the Mediterranean world, the Indian Ocean, northern Europe, and among Pacific coast Native Americans in North, Central, and South America. Fagan effectively intersperses observations from his own extensive sailing experience as he ponders how ancient mariners might have responded to various sea conditions and what may have initially caused them to take to the sea. VERDICT Fagan paints a thoroughly fascinating portrait of the intricate interaction among ocean, climate, and humanity in the many parts of the world where seafaring cultures developed. This excellent book is sure to appeal to readers with some background and interest in world archaeology and history. With extensive documentation in the end notes.-Elizabeth Salt, Otterbein Univ. Lib., Westerville, OH (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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