Beyond the Blue Horizon

How the Earliest Mariners Unlocked the Secrets of the Oceans
Beyond the Blue Horizon: How the Earliest Mariners Unlocked the Secrets of the Oceans. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Jun. 2012. c.336p. illus. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781608190058. $28. HIST
When and why did prehistoric people decide to venture out upon the world's oceans? What were their motivations for traveling across such large expanses in primitive vessels? In this enthralling work, Fagan (anthropology, emeritus, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Cro-Magnon: How the Ice Age Gave Birth to the First Modern Humans) attempts to answer these questions, examining seafaring traditions in a number of world regions. He begins with early voyaging in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, then covers a long span of prehistoric seafaring in the Mediterranean world, the Indian Ocean, northern Europe, and among Pacific coast Native Americans in North, Central, and South America. Fagan effectively intersperses observations from his own extensive sailing experience as he ponders how ancient mariners might have responded to various sea conditions and what may have initially caused them to take to the sea.
VERDICT Fagan paints a thoroughly fascinating portrait of the intricate interaction among ocean, climate, and humanity in the many parts of the world where seafaring cultures developed. This excellent book is sure to appeal to readers with some background and interest in world archaeology and history. With extensive documentation in the end notes.
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