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The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World

Dec 17, 2013

The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World
By Lincoln Paine
Alfred A. Knopf, New York 2013
784 pages

I first met Lincoln Paine when he was researching his book Down East: A Maritime History of Maine (2000). He sought me out hoping to gain some insight into Maine’s fisheries. I quickly recognized him as an avid researcher and historian.

In The Sea And Civilization: A Maritime History of the World, Paine has taken on the monumental task of telling human history through the lens of maritime travel, revealing how all people and their cultures are in some way connected via the sea.

Paine begins his journey in the islands of Oceania and the Americas and moves on to the rivers and seas of ancient Egypt, the Mediterranean, China, and finally Northern Europe.

The story of this maritime migration is told through commerce, religion, warfare, and technological advances. It’s a big story to tell, but Paine tackles it with vigor and has produced an impressive work that is historically precise and highly engaging.

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