The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World

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 humanA 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 This tremendously readable intellectual adventure shows us the world in a new light, in which the sea reigns supreme We find out how a once enslaved East African king brought Islam to his people, what the American sail around territories were, and what the Song Dynasty did with twenty wheel, human powered paddleboats with twenty paddle wheels and up to three hundred crew Above all, Paine makes clear how the rise and fall of civilizations can be linked to the sea An accomplishment of both great sweep and illuminating detail, The Sea and Civilization is a stunning work of history.
The Sea and Civilization A Maritime History of the World 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

  • Title: The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World
  • Author: Lincoln Paine
  • ISBN: 9781400044092
  • Page: 170
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World”

    1. Lincoln Paine’s The Sea and Civilization has a lot going for it. It takes on a hugely ambitious topic – the maritime history of the world – that is inherently interesting (think of all the intrepid sailors, the raging storms, the momentous sea battles, the giant squids). It covers a lot of ground, is deeply researched, and is not terribly written. Perhaps the only problem I had with this book is that I did not like it. Paine has a laudable, if lofty goal. As he states in the introduction, [...]

    2. This was an absolutely comprehensive study of the maritime history of the world from when mankind took to the waters back in the stone ages to present day. Heck even the kayaks of the Inuit have a paragraph. This 700+ page ebook of just text (not counting another 300+ pages of notes and bibliography) covers every culture and aspect of peoples and ships. There is a lot of information, and I filled my lack of knowledge concerning the maritime history of the Indian Ocean, SE Asia and China.Some int [...]

    3. This was a long book that was weakened by a lack of analysis. What the reader is confronted with is a ponderously long history of humankind's history on the water [fresh & salt] and the significance of this for us. As far as it goes it is comprehensive, but it doesn't do enough to contextualize and analyze this for the general reader. There are also hints of an anti-Western bias rife amongst a particular school of academics-for some 50 or 60 years now. This distorts history and pushes away a [...]

    4. On a positive note, I take my hat off to the author for the sheer amount of research he must have put into this. If you've ever wanted to know how much duty was charged to Persian ships calling at Indian ports in medieval times, this is the book for you. I confess I found it heavy going. It started well, with some interesting stuff about prehistoric sea travel; the voyages of the Polynesians etc; and I also enjoyed the last chapter, which covered themes like globalisation and the development of [...]

    5. Lincoln Paine wants to change your view of the world. He wants you to focus on the blue parts of the map that cover over 70% of the world's surface. In his book, The Sea and Civilization, he makes that case that mankind's technological and social adaptation to the water has been a driving force in human history, whether it was to wage war, or for migration or commerce. Perhaps Jared Diamond's great book Guns, Germs and Steel should have been Guns, Germs, Steel and Boats. Paine makes the case by [...]

    6. As a history buff I'm a sucker for big fat volumes that promise you the whole story in one place; I've plowed through H.G. Wells's The Outline of History and devoured Paul Johnson's Modern Times. I also love sea stories, so this doorstop tome was right up my alley. A maritime history of the world makes sense because our planet is mostly covered with water and very early on people discovered that large quantities of tradeable things were most easily shifted by floating them. So as people fanned o [...]

    7. One of the best history books I've read in years, Paine's splendidly written narrative account of humanity's relationship with the sea takes a genuinely global approach to its subject, a far cry from maritime history's traditionally Western orientation. About two-thirds of the book takes place before the Columbian Exchange, allowing Paine to put the Indian Ocean in its proper place as the center of Eurasian maritime activity for a good two thousand years. As a result, the years of Western domina [...]

    8. An amazing history of the world from the point of view of ships and the merchants who built them.Starting about 5,000BC folks traveled by the water in the Pacific and in Egypt.Trade was usually the goal. Exploration another. And in Egypt's case, transporting the stones for the pyramids.What did they build?How die they navigate?What was the effect on cultures?And how did trade develop into war?744 pages of treasure!

    9. It wasn't always smooth sailing, as a lot of the writing just skimmed the surface. Painfully dull at times. Funny that a "water based" book would be dry reading. Perhaps a magazine article would have sufficed?

    10. Review for PW. Omygosh, this was a Herculean effort - I should have started this much earlier! But likely an unprecedented achievement, and the author did a great job.

    11. The book is ok but too much is attempted in one volume. The history of all maritime seafaring since the neolithic is going to be spread a little thin on detail. Not bad.

    12. This is a remarkable achievement, one that fascinated me for months but also one I had to read in small sections because it is so rich with information and I oftentimes read this book with open next to me. Those side trips into oftentimes took me off into other ancient places of interest as the ancient names are not always the same as the modern. This was especially true for my favorite part of the book, the ancient Phoenician, Greek, Indian, and North African ports and civilizations. One coul [...]

    13. Very good book, detail, enormous, will require commitment to complete. Pretty much history of the world from the view of maritime. Wish more were devoted to World Wars development.

    14. A vast tome and only for those who are true history mavens, or maritime mavens, or both. But expertly and exhaustively written. Several signal things struck me. First, the author's refreshing focus on maritime history of China, Japan and southeast Asia, rather than an insistence that the world begins and ends with Europe. The myriad of complex trade routes that were created in southeast Asia, alone, fill you with admiration for those mariners of 1400 years ago. There are five language families b [...]

    15. I'm usually a quick reader, but this nearly 600 page book (if you don't count the notes and bibliography) is densely packed with information. Reading two chapters in one day was an accomplishment. This is in no way a criticism of Paine's writing style: he balances "the long view" with a detailed understanding of every period he writes about, and he's not without humor. It's just that this is a big subject, and it's difficult to race through it.I picked this up because I wanted to understand nava [...]

    16. For anyone who interested the history of trade, exploration and naval battles, this is an excellent resource. It does require a good background in world history and geography.

    17. I enjoy reading about history and how trading or different technologies changed the world, so I thought I'd enjoy this book. I did, and 's book description does a good job of describing the breadth of information covered. However, I sometimes felt like I would have gotten more out of the book if I had more of an interest in boats and ships and had some basic knowledge of the history of boat technologies. Especially at the beginning, we're given detailed (though not step-by-step detailed) descrip [...]

    18. A difficult book to review. On the one hand, the topics covered are expansive and thorough. On the other, the text is often boring. Commendably, the author is true to his title and proceeds to address the entirety of human history through a maritime lens. Everything from prehistory through modern times is discussed. The influence of the sea on history and human development is ably explored, with ample evidence provided to back the author's claims up. Modern history is only a small part of the st [...]

    19. While I appreciated the truly global coverage of maritime activity on offer here, it took around 400 or so pages before the history reached the point of the European global age of sail; my knowledge of the many kingdoms and civilizations around the world cited prior to this period was too limited in most cases for me to have enough context to effectively appreciate the maritime perspective. The book’s history begins to accelerate rapidly from the colonial era onward, and even more rapidly from [...]

    20. This is one I’ll remember when deciding my favorite books of the year. It covers everything from Polynesian navigation methods to the way the shipping container revolutionized the global economy. Although some parts drag into boredom, the absolute wealth of detail and variety in this book are amazing. Paine has written an absolute behemoth here, and you'll be doing your own research on joinery methods (for example) to keep up with his analysis. He rightly places sea and ocean travel not as a s [...]

    21. Holy crap, what a comprehensive book. Best consumed by someone with previous knowledge of the mechanics of sailing IMO. As previous reviewers have noted, the book does an incredible job of consolidating a vast body of knowledge, but a less-than-incredible job of interpreting that data and contextualizing it within the broader scope of history. It's as if a large basket of facts is being pushed across the authors' desk to you. Some assembly required.Hate to make the 'there's not enough pictures' [...]

    22. Boring, tedious, and reads like a bad high school history book. I was really excited to start this one but was quickly disappointed. Way to broad in scope and with little depth due to the long history the author hopes to bring together. It also felt like at times that the author was trying to drop as many names and places as he possibly could. It all ran together. The last few chapters were better but it didn't save this one. Steer clear on this one.

    23. I got about 20 pages into this. Some fascinating details about the history of human exploration in the Southwest Pacific: how Polynesia and other islands were discovered and navigated. It's definitely scholarly, which isn't a bad thing, but it wasn't quite compelling enough for a 700+ page odyssey at the moment. (Plus, limited library loan time!)

    24. Excellent treatment of sprawling subject that could have easily sunk beneath of the weight of footnotes not properly stowed, sinking the narrative. If you're going to read one 600 page book about a maritime history of the world, let it be this one. Written in such a way I think you could jump in at any given chapter of interest. Marvelous.

    25. A great, great book. For anyone who's even remotely interested in world history, the sea, vessels, maritime trade etc -- this is an absolute must, drawing together strands of economic, political, and military/naval development mostly in Europe and East Asia. A fascinating read, with the all the chapters on antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the steamship period especially enticing.

    26. What about if we viewed history through the lens of the 2/3 of the world we are forgetting?This is a fairly exhaustive world history through the sea. The story of Polynesians populating their islands was fascinating. Never knew the caste system was a force keeping India from developing much of a sea presence. Well written and interesting. New (to me) content and perspective. Yes, please.

    27. Fascinating history but at times too much repetition. Interesting relationship between maritime history and evolving civilizations and cultures.

    28. 1/4/13 reviewed positively in the Wall Street Journal. I also saw it at Barnes and Nobel this week.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *