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Publisher's Summary

A monumental retelling of world history through the lens of maritime enterprise, revealing in breathtaking depth how people first came into contact with one another by ocean and river, lake and stream, and how goods, languages, religions, and entire cultures spread across and along the world's waterways, bringing together civilizations and defining what makes us most human.

Lincoln Paine takes us back to the origins of long-distance migration by sea with our ancestors' first forays from Africa and Eurasia to Australia and the Americas. He demonstrates the critical role of maritime trade to the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley. He reacquaints us with the great seafaring cultures of antiquity like those of the Phoenicians and Greeks as well as those of India and Southeast and East Asia, who parlayed their navigational skills, shipbuilding techniques, and commercial acumen to establish thriving overseas colonies and trade routes in the centuries leading up to the age of European expansion. And finally, his narrative traces how commercial shipping and naval warfare brought about the enormous demographic, cultural, and political changes that have globalized the world throughout the post-Cold War era.

©2013 Lincoln Paine (P)2018 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Paine's highly detailed work encompasses a wide array of topics, from trade and the influence of the sea on warfare and political coalitions, to ship building techniques through the ages, to piracy and slavery.... Paine has compiled an invaluable resource for salty dogs and land-lubbers alike." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Course of history as defined by the sea

excellent text covers history and the significance of the world's oceans and seas. it is well researched and audio reading was high quality

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Excellent Worldwide Maritime History

Particularly well researched, especially Far East, India, Caliphates to Byzantine seas... Early voyages of Exploration and Expansion make the 1500-1650 period come alive like an explosion. A Great overview for anyone unfamiliar with international trade by sea and ship, prehistory to our modern world.