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Books > Earth & environment > Geography > Geographical discovery & exploration

Almost Human - The Astonishing Tale Of Homo Naledi (Paperback): Lee Berger, John Hawks Almost Human - The Astonishing Tale Of Homo Naledi (Paperback)
Lee Berger, John Hawks 5
R295 R245 Discovery Miles 2 450 Save R50 (17%) In stock

Almost Human is the personal story of a charismatic and visionary palaeontologist, a rich and readable narrative about science, exploration, and what it means to be human.

In 2013, Wits University reasearch professor Lee Berger caught wind of a cache of bones in a hard-to-reach underground cave near Johannesburg. He put out a call around the world for collaborators – men and women small and adventurous enough to be able to squeeze through 8-inch tunnels to reach a sunless cave 40 feet underground. With this team of ‘underground astronauts’, Berger made the discovery of a lifetime: hundreds of prehistoric bones, including entire skeletons of at least 15 individuals, all perhaps two million years old. Their features combined those of known pre-hominids with those more human than anything ever before seen in prehistoric remains. Berger's team had discovered an all new species: Homo naledi.

The cave proved to be the richest pre-hominid site ever discovered, full of implications that challenge how we define ourselves as human. Did these ancestors of ours bury their dead? If so, they must have had an awareness of death, a level of self-knowledge: the very characteristic we used to define ourselves as human. Did an equally advanced species inhabit Earth with us, or before us?

Addressing these questions, Berger counters the arguments of those colleagues who have questioned his controversial interpretations and astounding finds.

The Map Tour (Royal Geographical Society) (Hardcover): Hugh Thomson The Map Tour (Royal Geographical Society) (Hardcover)
Hugh Thomson
R751 R517 Discovery Miles 5 170 Save R234 (31%) Within 7 - 12 working days

The Map Tour is an exquisite collection of maps tracing the evolution of tourism from the late 1600s to the elite realms of the Grand Tour and then beyond the boundaries of the known world. Produced with the Royal Geographical Society, with access to their archives of rare maps, it charts a course across the globe on the first steam voyages, captures the romance of the golden age of train travel and navigates to the heart of why we travel. Arranged chronologically and including personal anecdotes, diary extracts and photographs of intrepid early travellers, The Map Tour looks at the ways in which maps facilitated and directed the travel industry. It reveals the progress in mapmaking techniques and shows how people used maps to navigate and understand the world. It considers the shape of global tourism today, reflecting on just how accessible the world has become.

Running Against the Tide - True Tales from the Stud of the Sea (Hardcover): Captain Lee Running Against the Tide - True Tales from the Stud of the Sea (Hardcover)
Captain Lee; As told to Michael Shohl
R474 R355 Discovery Miles 3 550 Save R119 (25%) Within 7 - 11 working days
Erebus: The Story of a Ship (Hardcover): Michael Palin Erebus: The Story of a Ship (Hardcover)
Michael Palin 1
R491 R359 Discovery Miles 3 590 Save R132 (27%) Within 7 - 11 working days

____________________________________ HMS Erebus was one of the great exploring ships, a veteran of groundbreaking expeditions to the ends of the Earth. In 1848, it disappeared in the Arctic, its fate a mystery. In 2014, it was found. This is its story. ____________________________________ `Beyond terrific. I didn't want it to end.' - Bill Bryson ____________________________________ Michael Palin - Monty Python star and television globetrotter - brings the remarkable Erebus back to life, following it from its launch in 1826 to the epic voyages of discovery that led to glory in the Antarctic and to ultimate catastrophe in the Arctic. The ship was filled with fascinating people: the dashing and popular James Clark Ross, who charted much of the `Great Southern Barrier'; the troubled John Franklin, whose chequered career culminated in the Erebus's final, disastrous expedition; and the eager Joseph Dalton Hooker, a brilliant naturalist - when he wasn't shooting the local wildlife dead. Vividly recounting the experiences of the men who first set foot on Antarctica's Victoria Land, and those who, just a few years later, froze to death one by one in the Arctic ice, beyond the reach of desperate rescue missions, Erebus is a wonderfully evocative account of a truly extraordinary adventure, brought to life by a master explorer and storyteller. ____________________________________ `Thoroughly absorbs the reader. . . Carefully researched and well-crafted, it brings the story of a ship vividly to life.' - Sunday Times `This is an incredible book. I couldn't put it down. The Erebus story is the Arctic epic we've all been waiting for.' - Nicholas Crane `Palin is a superb stylist, low-key and conversational, who skillfully incorporates personal experience. He turns up obscure facts, reanimates essential moments, and never shies away from taking controversial positions. This beautifully produced volume - colour plates, outstanding maps - is a landmark achievement.' - Ken McGoogan, author of Fatal Passage `I absolutely loved it: I had to read it at one sitting . . . Fascinating.' - Lorraine Kelly, ITV Lorraine `Magisterial . . . Brings energy, wit and humanity to a story that has never ceased to tantalise people since the 1840s.' - The Times

The Escape Artists - A Band of Daredevil Pilots and the Greatest Prison Break of the Great War (Hardcover): Neal Bascomb The Escape Artists - A Band of Daredevil Pilots and the Greatest Prison Break of the Great War (Hardcover)
Neal Bascomb 1
R516 R386 Discovery Miles 3 860 Save R130 (25%) Within 7 - 11 working days
Endeavour - The Ship and the Attitude that Changed the World (Hardcover): Peter Moore Endeavour - The Ship and the Attitude that Changed the World (Hardcover)
Peter Moore 1
R491 R386 Discovery Miles 3 860 Save R105 (21%) Within 7 - 12 working days

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER `HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR' Christopher Hart, Sunday Times An inventive biography of one of the most famous ships of all time - an alluring combination of history, adventure and science The Enlightenment was an age of endeavours. Britain was consumed by the impulse for grand projects. In 1768 the Royal Navy bought a Whitby collier for an expedition to the South Seas. No one could have guessed she would become the most significant ship in the history of British exploration. Her name was Endeavour. Endeavour was a ship with many lives, famously carrying James Cook on his first great voyage to the Pacific islands. She was there at the Wilkes Riots in London and witnessed the bloody birth of the United States. A Polynesian priest, botanists, the first kangaroo to arrive in Britain and Hessian soldiers were just a few amongst her many passengers. According to Charles Darwin, she helped Cook add a hemisphere to the civilised world. NASA named a space shuttle after her. Yet to others, she was a toxic symbol, responsible for the dispossession and disruption of societies. For the first time, Peter Moore tells Endeavour's complete story, exploring the different lives of this remarkable ship -- from the oak that made her to her rich and complex legacy. `Fascinating and richly detailed... Peter Moore has brought us an acute insight into the ship that carried some of the most successful explorers across the world. A fine book that's definitely worth exploring' Michael Palin

Searching for the Lost Tombs of Egypt (Hardcover): Chris Naunton Searching for the Lost Tombs of Egypt (Hardcover)
Chris Naunton 1
R501 R396 Discovery Miles 3 960 Save R105 (21%) Within 7 - 12 working days

Where are the tombs of Alexander the Great or Cleopatra? Both rulers were buried in Egypt, but their tombs have never been found despite years of intensive research and excavation. Yet we have tantalizing clues. Searching for the Lost Tombs of Egypt describes the quest for these and other great `missing' tombs - those we know existed, but which have not yet been identified. It also discusses key moments of discovery that have yielded astonishing finds and created the archetypal image of the archaeologist poised at the threshold of a tomb left untouched for millennia. In this gripping account, Chris Naunton explains the mysteries of the missing tombs and presents all the evidence, skilfully unravelling the tangled threads surrounding the burials of the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten and his son Tutankhamun, and the burial place of Imhotep, architect of the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, among others. Could other such tombs lie undiscovered in the Valley of the Kings? In fact, the Valley almost certainly does guard hidden treasures. Amazing finds of unsuspected tombs continue to occur there and elsewhere in Egypt, making headlines worldwide - all are covered in this book. As well as immersing the reader, step by step, in the action of the search and the thrill of discovery, the book also explores the reasons why tombs remain such a central part of both the popular perception of Egyptology and the continuing allure of ancient Egypt.

I May Be Some Time - The Story Behind the Antarctic Tragedy of Captain Scott (Paperback): Francis Spufford I May Be Some Time - The Story Behind the Antarctic Tragedy of Captain Scott (Paperback)
Francis Spufford 1
R244 R197 Discovery Miles 1 970 Save R47 (19%) Within 7 - 12 working days

When Captain Scott died in 1912 on his way back from the South Pole, his story became a myth embedded in the national imagination. Everyone remembers the doomed Captain Oates's last words: 'I'm just going outside, and I may be some time.' Francis Spufford's celebrated and prize-winning history shows how Scott's death was the culmination of a national enchantment with vast empty spaces, the beauty of untrodden snow, and perilous journeys to the end of the earth.

Summits of My Life - Daring Adventures on the World's Greatest Peaks (Paperback): Kilian Jornet Summits of My Life - Daring Adventures on the World's Greatest Peaks (Paperback)
Kilian Jornet
R458 R345 Discovery Miles 3 450 Save R113 (25%) Within 7 - 11 working days

Kilian Jornet is the world's fastest mountain climber, ultrarunner, and ski mountaineer and his Summits of My Life project is his most ambitious achievement: the 29 year-old Spaniard challenged ascent and descent records for the world's most important mountains including Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Mt. Elbrus, Denali, Aconcagua, and Mount Everest. By using all his talent in ultrarunning, climbing, and skiing, Jornet made worldwide headlines with his jaw-dropping, superhuman climbs. In this illustrated, info-packed, and awe-inspiring account, Jornet documents his successful attempts to set new roundtrip FKTs (fastest-known times) while following his own ethic of climbing simply, purely, with minimal gear, and with love and respect for the environment and the mountains. Summits of My Life includes his preparation, his successes and failures, facts and elevation maps, and mind-blowing statistics along with Jornet's personal commentary and inspiring photographs. With every new record, Jornet achieves the unthinkable and pushes the boundaries of mountaineer, ultrarunning, and ski mountaineering. Now, as his project nears completion, Jornet's Summits of My Life will awe and thrill readers.

Undaunted Courage - The Pioneering First Mission to Explore America's Wild Frontier (Paperback, Reissue): Stephen E.... Undaunted Courage - The Pioneering First Mission to Explore America's Wild Frontier (Paperback, Reissue)
Stephen E. Ambrose 1
R227 R149 Discovery Miles 1 490 Save R78 (34%) Within 7 - 12 working days

'This was much more than a bunch of guys out on an exploring and collecting expedition. This was a military expedition into hostile territory'. In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a pioneering voyage across the Great Plains and into the Rockies. It was completely uncharted territory; a wild, vast land ruled by the Indians. Charismatic and brave, Lewis was the perfect choice and he experienced the savage North American continent before any other white man. UNDAUNTED COURAGE is the tale of a hero, but it is also a tragedy. Lewis may have received a hero's welcome on his return to Washington in 1806, but his discoveries did not match the president's fantasies of sweeping, fertile plains ripe for the taking. Feeling the expedition had been a failure, Lewis took to drink and piled up debts. Full of colourful characters - Jefferson, the president obsessed with conquering the west; William Clark, the rugged frontiersman; Sacagawea, the Indian girl who accompanied the expedition; Drouillard, the French-Indian hunter - this is one of the great adventure stories of all time and it shot to the top of the US bestseller charts. Drama, suspense, danger and diplomacy combine with romance and personal tragedy making UNDAUNTED COURAGE an outstanding work of scholarship and a thrilling adventure.

The Last Englishmen - Love, War, and the End of Empire (Hardcover): Deborah Baker The Last Englishmen - Love, War, and the End of Empire (Hardcover)
Deborah Baker
R527 R397 Discovery Miles 3 970 Save R130 (25%) Within 7 - 11 working days
The Ship, the Saint, and the Sailor - The Long Search for the Legendary Kad'yak (Paperback): Bradley G Stevens The Ship, the Saint, and the Sailor - The Long Search for the Legendary Kad'yak (Paperback)
Bradley G Stevens
R329 R253 Discovery Miles 2 530 Save R76 (23%) Within 7 - 11 working days
The Promise of the Grand Canyon - John Wesley Powell's Perilous Journey and His Vision for the American West (Hardcover):... The Promise of the Grand Canyon - John Wesley Powell's Perilous Journey and His Vision for the American West (Hardcover)
John F. Ross
R556 R415 Discovery Miles 4 150 Save R141 (25%) Within 7 - 11 working days
On Call in the Arctic - A Doctor`s Pursuit of Life, Love, and Miracles in the Alaskan Frontier (Hardcover): Thomas J Sims On Call in the Arctic - A Doctor`s Pursuit of Life, Love, and Miracles in the Alaskan Frontier (Hardcover)
Thomas J Sims
R524 R394 Discovery Miles 3 940 Save R130 (25%) Within 7 - 11 working days
Wildlife of the Arctic (Paperback): Richard Sale Wildlife of the Arctic (Paperback)
Richard Sale 1
R478 R330 Discovery Miles 3 300 Save R148 (31%) Within 7 - 12 working days

This book celebrates the Arctic, exploring the natural history that has so inspired generations. Early travellers to the Arctic brought back tales of amazing creatures and of the endurance required of visitors, the Arctic becoming a land of inspiration and imagination. Adventurers test themselves against it. Its wildlife still amazes - when film and television show Earth's natural wonders it is always the polar regions that draw the biggest audiences. But today the Arctic is in retreat. Humanity's relentless exploitation of the Earth's resources in the pursuit of progress has, it seems, altered the climate and threatens the ice and ice-living organisms. It is a cliche that the loss of a species diminishes us, but it is true nonetheless. Even to people who have never seen a Polar Bear its loss will be immeasurable as the bear is iconic, both defining and reflecting the Arctic. This Traveller's Guide is designed to give visitors a handy identification guide to the wildlife they might see as they travel around, including stunning photography and detailed descriptions of each species.

The Dinosaur Artist (Hardcover): Paige Williams The Dinosaur Artist (Hardcover)
Paige Williams
R511 R381 Discovery Miles 3 810 Save R130 (25%) Within 7 - 11 working days

New Yorker magazine staff writer Paige Williams explores the riveting and perilous world of fossil collectors in this "tremendous" (David Grann) true tale of one Florida man's attempt to sell a dinosaur skeleton from Mongolia--"a triumphant book" (Publishers Weekly) that is "steeped in natural history, human nature, commerce, crime, science, and politics" (Rebecca Skloot). In 2012, a New York auction catalogue boasted an unusual offering: "a superb Tyrannosaurus skeleton." In fact, Lot 49135 consisted of a nearly complete T. bataar, a close cousin to the most famous animal that ever lived. The fossils now on display in a Manhattan event space had been unearthed in Mongolia, more than 6,000 miles away. At eight-feet high and 24 feet long, the specimen was spectacular, and when the gavel sounded the winning bid was over $1 million. Eric Prokopi, a thirty-eight-year-old Floridian, was the man who had brought this extraordinary skeleton to market. A onetime swimmer who spent his teenage years diving for shark teeth, Prokopi's singular obsession with fossils fueled a thriving business hunting, preparing, and selling specimens, to clients ranging from natural history museums to avid private collectors like actor Leonardo DiCaprio. But there was a problem. This time, facing financial strain, had Prokopi gone too far? As the T. bataar went to auction, a network of paleontologists alerted the government of Mongolia to the eye-catching lot. As an international custody battle ensued, Prokopi watched as his own world unraveled. In the tradition of The Orchid Thief, The Dinosaur Artist is a stunning work of narrative journalism about humans' relationship with natural history and a seemingly intractable conflict between science and commerce. A story that stretches from Florida's Land O' Lakes to the Gobi Desert, The Dinosaur Artist illuminates the history of fossil collecting--a murky, sometimes risky business, populated by eccentrics and obsessives, where the lines between poacher and hunter, collector and smuggler, enthusiast and opportunist, can easily blur. In her first book, Paige Williams has given readers an irresistible story that spans continents, cultures, and millennia as she examines the question of who, ultimately, owns the past.

Ernest Hemingway - A Biography (Paperback): Mary Dearborn Ernest Hemingway - A Biography (Paperback)
Mary Dearborn
R373 R299 Discovery Miles 2 990 Save R74 (20%) Within 7 - 11 working days
Winnie-the-Pooh's 50 things to do before you're 5 3/4 (Paperback): A.A. Milne Winnie-the-Pooh's 50 things to do before you're 5 3/4 (Paperback)
A.A. Milne; Illustrated by E.H. Shepard 1
R192 R142 Discovery Miles 1 420 Save R50 (26%) Within 7 - 11 working days

Have you ever made mud pies? Or a secret den? Winnie-the-Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and their friends have come up with 50 outdoor activities they think everyone should enjoy before their 6th birthday.

With helpful hints and spaces for your records and photographs, this book is the perfect introduction to the wonders of the outdoors and a helpful guide for parents. It's packed with ideas to keep little ones busy at weekends and during school holidays.

Activities range from spotting animal babies to making your own tree monster so that, whatever the weather, children can enjoy the magic of playing outdoors.

Pacific Exploration - Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook's Endeavour to the Beagle (Paperback): Nigel Rigby, Pieter... Pacific Exploration - Voyages of Discovery from Captain Cook's Endeavour to the Beagle (Paperback)
Nigel Rigby, Pieter Van Der Merwe, Glyn Williams 1
R475 R376 Discovery Miles 3 760 Save R99 (21%) Within 7 - 12 working days

Captain Cook is generally acknowledged as the first great European scientific explorer. His voyage of exploration to the Pacific in HM bark Endeavour, commencing in 1768, lasted almost three years, recorded thousands of miles of uncharted lands and seas – including New Zealand, the east coast of Australia and many Pacific islands – and tested all Cook's skills as a navigator, seaman and leader. His voyages were among the first to take civilian scientists, notably Sir Joseph Banks, and they revealed to European eyes the mysterious and exotic lands, peoples, flora and fauna of the Pacific, never before seen.

But while Cook understandably dominates the story of 18th-century Pacific exploration, the achievements of those who followed him on many voyages of science and exploration into the Pacific have been neglected and deprived of the greater attention they deserve. Correcting this imbalance, Pacific Exploration explores the European voyages that continued Cook's work not only of charting but also starting to exploit and control the Pacific. These voyages, by William Bligh, George Vancouver, Matthew Flinders, Malaspina, Lapérouse and Arthur Phillip, span a period that saw Britain becoming the world's leading maritime power, a situation well in place by the time that Charles Darwin's voyage in Fitzroy's Beagle laid the basis of even greater understanding of the development of life on earth.

Recounting and illustrating these achievements and legacies using fascinating text and beautiful illustrations and artworks from the period, this book explores topics of scientific discovery, engagement with indigenous peoples, the use of shipboard artists and scientists, the growing professionalism of the hydrographic service, the vessels used and the colonial, commercial and imperial contexts of the voyages.

Rocket Men - The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon (Hardcover):... Rocket Men - The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon (Hardcover)
Robert Kurson
R526 R396 Discovery Miles 3 960 Save R130 (25%) Within 7 - 11 working days
Erebus: The Story of a Ship (Paperback): Michael Palin Erebus: The Story of a Ship (Paperback)
Michael Palin 1
R320 R256 Discovery Miles 2 560 Save R64 (20%) Pre-order

HMS Erebus was one of the great exploring ships, a veteran of groundbreaking expeditions to the ends of the Earth. In 1848, it disappeared in the Arctic, its fate a mystery. In 2014, it was found. This is its story. ____________________________________ `Beyond terrific. I didn't want it to end.' - Bill Bryson ____________________________________ Michael Palin - Monty Python star and television globetrotter - brings the remarkable Erebus back to life, following it from its launch in 1826 to the epic voyages of discovery that led to glory in the Antarctic and to ultimate catastrophe in the Arctic. The ship was filled with fascinating people: the dashing and popular James Clark Ross, who charted much of the `Great Southern Barrier'; the troubled John Franklin, whose chequered career culminated in the Erebus's final, disastrous expedition; and the eager Joseph Dalton Hooker, a brilliant naturalist - when he wasn't shooting the local wildlife dead. Vividly recounting the experiences of the men who first set foot on Antarctica's Victoria Land, and those who, just a few years later, froze to death one by one in the Arctic ice, beyond the reach of desperate rescue missions, Erebus is a wonderfully evocative account of a truly extraordinary adventure, brought to life by a master explorer and storyteller. ____________________________________ 'This is an incredible book. I couldn't put it down. The Erebus story is the Arctic epic we've all been waiting for.' - Nicholas Crane `One robust little tub of a boat, two death-defying voyages to the ends of the earth. Palin has given us a fascinating account of extraordinary courage' - Charlotte Gray, author of The Promise of Canada: People and Ideas that Shaped Our Country `What more could a reader ask for? Fascinating mystery, chilling adventure, compelling characters ... simply terrific writing by Michael Palin.' - Roy MacGregor, author of Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada `Michael Palin is a cracking good companion on this journey of ambition, longing, triumph and tragedy... the age of adventure lives on' - Alanna Mitchell, author of The Spinning Magnet: The Force that Created the Modern World and Could Destroy It

Discoveries - The Voyages of Captain Cook (Paperback): Nicholas Thomas Discoveries - The Voyages of Captain Cook (Paperback)
Nicholas Thomas 1
R235 R188 Discovery Miles 1 880 Save R47 (20%) Within 4 - 8 working days

Cook's great voyages marked the end of an era in world history. As he sailed into Hawaii in January 1778 he made contact with the last of the human civilizations to grow up independently of the rest of the world. But equally for the Polynesians and Melanesians of the Pacific, Cook's arrival in their midst merely marked a further (if disastrous) twist in diverse histories already many centuries old. In this immensely enjoyable and absorbing book Cook's journeys are reimagined, attempting toleave behind (or master) our later preoccupations to let us see what Cook and his associates experienced and what the societies he encountered experienced - from the Beothuks of Newfoundland to the Tongans of the Friendly Islands.

Voyages in World History, Volume II, Brief (Paperback, Brief ed): Kenneth R. Curtis, Valerie Hansen Voyages in World History, Volume II, Brief (Paperback, Brief ed)
Kenneth R. Curtis, Valerie Hansen
R591 R511 Discovery Miles 5 110 Save R80 (14%) Within 8 - 13 working days

VOYAGES IN WORLD HISTORY, BRIEF EDITION, is a mainstream world history text that masterfully uses the theme of movement--the journeys of peoples, ideas, and goods--to help the reader make sense of the overwhelming range of people, places, and events throughout history. Each chapter begins with, and is framed around, the story of a person who traveled within the time period and region of the chapter. Readers will enjoy the stories and will also learn to critically evaluate the traveler's observations and attitudes. VOYAGES IN WORLD HISTORY includes a primary source feature called "Movement of Ideas," which helps the reader to analyze original sources by providing multiple explanations of significant ideas throughout history.

The Way of a Ship - A Square-Rigger Voyage in the Last Days of Sail (Paperback): Derek Lundy The Way of a Ship - A Square-Rigger Voyage in the Last Days of Sail (Paperback)
Derek Lundy
R261 R214 Discovery Miles 2 140 Save R47 (18%) Within 7 - 15 working days

When, as a young man in the 1880s, Benjamin Lundy signed up for duty aboard a square-rigged commercial sailing vessel, he began a journey more exciting, and more terrifying, than he could have ever imagined: a treacherous, white-knuckle passage around that notorious "graveyard of ships," Cape Horn.

A century later, Derek Lundy, author of the bestselling "Godforsaken Sea" and an accomplished amateur seaman himself, set out to recount his forebear's journey. "The Way of a Ship" is a mesmerizing account of life on board a square-rigger, a remarkable reconstruction of a harrowing voyage through the most dangerous waters. Derek Lundy's masterful account evokes the excitement, romance, and brutality of a bygone era -- "a fantastic ride through one of the greatest moments in the history of adventure" ("Seattle Times").

Pacific - The Ocean of the Future (Hardcover): Simon Winchester Pacific - The Ocean of the Future (Hardcover)
Simon Winchester 1
R610 R419 Discovery Miles 4 190 Save R191 (31%) Within 7 - 12 working days

Travelling the circumference of the truly gigantic Pacific, Simon Winchester tells the story of the world's largest body of water, and - in matters economic, political and military - the ocean of the future. The Pacific is a world of tsunamis and Magellan, of the Bounty mutiny and the Boeing Company. It is the stuff of the towering Captain Cook and his wide-ranging network of exploring voyages, Robert Louis Stevenson and Admiral Halsey. It is the place of Paul Gauguin and the explosion of the largest-ever American atomic bomb, on Bikini atoll, in 1951. It has an astonishing recent past, an uncertain present and a hugely important future. The ocean and its peoples are the new lifeblood, fizz and thrill of America - which draws so many of its minds and so much of its manners from the sea - while the inexorable rise of the ancient center of the world, China, is a fixating fascination. The presence of rogue states - North Korea most notoriously today - suggest that the focus of the responsible world is shifting away from the conventional post-war obsessions with Europe and the Middle East, and towards a new set of urgencies. Navigating the newly evolving patterns of commerce and trade, the world's most violent weather and the fascinating histories, problems and potentials of the many Pacific states, Simon Winchester's thrilling journey is a grand depiction of the future ocean.

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