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The Great Sea: A Human History Of The Mediterranean (2011)

The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean (2011)

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3.78 of 5 Votes: 5
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0713999349 (ISBN13: 9780713999341)
Allen Lane

About book The Great Sea: A Human History Of The Mediterranean (2011)

The Great Sea - A Human History of the Mediterranean by David Abulafia is a fascinating book. If it was a work of fiction, or if it was more mythically inclined, I would even venture to call it an epic. Instead the book tells us a story based on documented deeds and occurrences, which makes it all the more interesting. D.A. weaves this epoch-spanning tale in a confident and interesting manner. I could almost feel the ebbs and flows of civilisation, people squabbling over one piece of land or another, merchants travelling the sea in search of fortune or settlers moving to new lands. While the Mediterranean itself lies unperturbed, allowing itself to be used by the different peoples inhabiting its shores. I found it fascinating that long-distance travel in ancient times, did not seem to been such an ordeal as I have previously imagined. People were criss-crossing the Sea relatively freely ever since they were able to build sturdy enough boats. Previously, I thought travelling in those times was only undertaken by dare-devils and explorers. This book painted a new picture of traders and even sometimes "tourists" travelling all over the Sea. What I found to be a minor drawback of this book, was that one of the major historical sources is documentation from merchants. As A.D. himself explained, merchants like to document their trading activity, and have done so ever since they were taught how to write. Therefore, I would rather describe the book as "a mercantile history of the Mediterranean", rather than "a human history(...)". A cosmetic change of the title, which would change the expectations of a would-be reader without decreasing the genius of the book itself. Highly recommendable to anyone who wants an overview of the history of the Mediterranean or wants to hear the story of Western civilisation from a slightly different vantage-point, since the Great Sea was indeed the cradle of what we today call "the West". Essentially a history book about the peoples who lived around the Mediterranean Sea during different periods, and the various empires that rose and then fell. The book was quite dry at times, and the maps in the Kindle version were hopeless. A good book for history buffs but I would recommend getting a hard copy. Also very helpful to keep Googling the places and peoples that are described as you read the book.

Do You like book The Great Sea: A Human History Of The Mediterranean (2011)?

Very interesting. Smooth writing. But just so massive. I didn't get out of the Bronze Age.

Exhaustively detailed but in the end flawed because of certain biases that emerged.

Excellent history - so nice to get away from the single country silos.

A book to consult every now and then. A jewel about our past.

Really interesting to read up unto the middle ages.

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