Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision o (Hardcover)
*Holiday 2015 Recommendation*
Until very recently I was skeptical that nonfiction could have the same thought-provoking and aesthetic qualities literature has. I stand corrected. Instead of a simple cultural overview or history, Pacific is composed of 10 telling events that reveal the importance of the Pacific from ocean, pole to pole, from Asia to the Americas to Australia, past to future. Page by page, sentence by sentence, this informative, beautifully written, moral work is fascinating.
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.