The Conquest of the Ocean: An Illustrated History of Seafaring

The Conquest of the Ocean: An Illustrated History of Seafaring

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by Brian Lavery
     
 

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A captivating tale spanning 5,000 years of the oceans' history, The Conquest of the Ocean tells the stories of the remarkable individuals who sailed seas, for trade, to conquer new lands, to explore the unknown.

From the early Polynesians to the first circumnavigations by the Portuguese and the British, these are awe-inspiring tales of epic sea voyages

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Overview

A captivating tale spanning 5,000 years of the oceans' history, The Conquest of the Ocean tells the stories of the remarkable individuals who sailed seas, for trade, to conquer new lands, to explore the unknown.

From the early Polynesians to the first circumnavigations by the Portuguese and the British, these are awe-inspiring tales of epic sea voyages involving great feats of seamanship, navigation, endurance, and ingenuity. Explore the lives and maritime adventures, many with first-person narratives of land seekers and globe charters such as Christopher Columbus, Captain James Cook, and Vitus Bering.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lavery (All Hands) presents a choppy survey of humanity’s history on the seas in this far-ranging volume. The prolific British maritime historian begins about 30,000 years ago with Polynesian seafarers’ colonization of Pacific islands and continues through to address harrowing accounts of modern-day piracy. Ports of call between these distant coasts include the treasure voyages of Ming official Zheng He, the discovery of the New World, the invention of the Fresnel lens, the Battle of Midway, and many others. Throughout the book, two-page insets highlight various technological milestones, such as the advent of the sextant and snapshots of the evolution of ships. Each receives a brief treatment and is sumptuously supplemented with maps and images. Yet like our understanding of the deep oceans themselves, Lavery’s account is woefully incomplete—a six-page section on whaling, for example, relies only on Captain Scoresby’s accounts and fails to even mention Moby Dick or devote a single sentence to the importance of fishing over the course of human history. Similarly, the 17th-century wreck of the Batavia is treated to a whole chapter, while the fate of the Titanic is summed up in a captioned illustration and one line. This is an adequate introduction to the topic for nautical neophytes, but salty sailors should slake their thirst elsewhere. Color maps, photos, and illus. throughout. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"[Author Brian] Lavery has a sound sense of how to interest new readers. He accentuates human-interest angles by quoting memoirists who experienced a famous naval battle or shipwreck or by sketching key individuals in the development of technological advances, such as ocean liners, submarines, and containerized shipping. Lavishly illustrating the extension of sea travel to transoceanic dimensions, Lavery's work ably serves a collection's need for a general, visually attractive chronicle of ships, sailors, and the sea." -Booklist

"[A] lavishly illustrated and readable work…Useful for research and enjoyable for leisure reading for students interested in naval history, exploration, and adventure." - School Library Journal

"Lavishly illustrating the extension of sea travel to transoceanic dimensions, [author Brian] Lavery's work ably serves a collection's need for a general, visually attractive chronicle of ships, sailors, and the sea." -Booklist

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Lavery offers 5000 years of ocean history in this lavishly illustrated and readable work. Although stating that the oceans can never be conquered, he narrates many stories of bravery, perseverance, and greed that resulted in the exploration of unknown worlds. Beginning with the first sailors of Polynesia, the Mediterranean, China, and Arabia, and covering oceangoing activities until modern times, this book has a vast reach. Much of the text consists of first-person narratives, often personal and exciting in the telling of great dangers and adventures. Included are discussions of the great explorations of the New World; the unbelievable travels of the extraordinary 15th-century Chinese seaman Zhen He, covering 30,000 miles in a flotilla totaling 27,000 men; the vast Viking journeys; and the use of naval power as a force for conquest. In the modern era, luxury ocean liners, America's Cup races, and World Wars are reviewed as well as the vast oversea migrations of the 19th century. The voices quoted give substance to the facts and figures outlining victory and loss. Piracy is a constant theme; whether for personal gain or in the employ of monarchs, the oceans were fair game for theft and plunder. Fittingly the last chapter relates to the treacherous Somali pirates of today. Photos, reproductions, diagrams, or maps appear on almost every page. The well-researched and popularly presented text is aided by an ample glossary, bibliography, and index. Useful for research and enjoyable for leisure reading for students interested in naval history, exploration, and adventure.—Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, formerly at Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781465408419
Publisher:
DK
Publication date:
08/19/2013
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.48(w) x 9.32(h) x 1.25(d)

Meet the Author

Brian Lavery is a British naval historian and Curator Emeritus at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, and is probably the world's leading authority on the ship of the line. He is the author of DK's Ship, as well as Empire of the Seas: How the Navy Forged the Modern World and the highly successful two-volume history of sailing battleships, The Ship of the Line. Lavery was a historical consultant on Peter Weir's 2003 blockbuster Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. He has also consulted on the replica constructions of Captain Cook's Endeavour and the emigrant ship Susan Constant.

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