The open ocean--that vast expanse of international waters--spreads
across three-fourths of the globe. It is a place of storms and
danger, both natural and manmade. And at a time when every last
patch of land is claimed by one government or another, it is a
place that remains radically free.
With typically understated lyricism, William Langewiesche explores
this ocean world and the enterprises--licit and illicit--that
flourish in the privacy afforded by its horizons. But its
efficiencies are accompanied by global problems--shipwrecks and
pollution, the hard lives and deaths of the crews of the gargantuan
ships, and the growth of two pathogens: a modern and sophisticated
strain of piracy and its close cousin, the maritime form of the new
This is the outlaw sea that Langewiesche brings startlingly into
view. The ocean is our world, he reminds us, and it is wild.
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