The World's Oceans: Geography, History, and Environment

ABC-CLIO. Jul. 2018. 400p. ed. by Rainer F. Buschmann & . illus. maps. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781440843518. $94; ebk. ISBN 9781440843525. SCI
Buschmann (history, California State Univ. Channel Islands) and Nolde (history, California State Univ. Channel Islands) collect information from different fields of study to create a comprehensive picture of how the oceans have influenced and been impacted by humanity. Ten essays, ranging from academic to breezy, delve into geography, history, the environment, and more. Shorter entries cover current subjects such as climate change and acidification along with ancient mariners, shipwrecks, pirates, and myths such as mermaids and Atlantis. Some authors dip their toes briefly into the realities of colonialization, with a history of Captain Cook's explorations and a few brief sections on indigenous peoples. Relevant trivia is salted throughout the volume. The book is overall European- and American-centric. More general entries on the Tomol (a type of large boat for hauling passengers and cargo) used by the Chumash tribe in California, a history of surfing and a few other entries try, unsuccessfully, to balance this flaw. Illustrations and tables are included, but some entries, such as "Art and the Sea," would have benefited from images of the artwork mentioned.
VERDICT A solid selection, despite its omissions, for general readers, high school students, and undergraduates trawling for oceanic facts.

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