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Publisher's Summary

From the author of the acclaimed The Great Sea, David Abulafia's new book guides listeners along the world's greatest bodies of water to reveal their primary role in human history. The main protagonists are the three major oceans - the Atlantic, the Pacific, and the Indian - which together comprise the majority of the earth's water and cover over half of its surface. These waterways carried goods, plants, livestock, and, of course people - free and enslaved - across vast expanses, transforming and ultimately linking irrevocably the economies and cultures of Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Far more than merely another history of exploration, The Boundless Sea tells how maritime networks gradually formed a continuum of interaction and interconnection. Working chronologically, Abulafia moves from the earliest forays of peoples taking hand-hewn canoes into uncharted waters, to the routes taken daily by supertankers in the thousands. History on the grandest scale and scope, crafted with passion and precision, this is a project few could have undertaken. Abulafia, whom The Atlantic calls "superb writer with a gift for lucid compression and an eye for the telling detail", proves again why he ranks as one of the world's greatest storytellers.

©2019 David Abulafia (P)2021 Tantor

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  • JK
  • 19-01-21


This is a most amazing book. I HIGHLY recommend this book and his earlier book "The Great Sea", a human history of the Mediterranean"
The narrator Nigel Patterson is excellent. Thank you so much for the many hours of entertainment.

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  • aaron
  • 10-01-21

Like Reading a Dictionary.

It's really quite an accomplishment, taking a subject this innately interesting and making it boring as dirt. But, through valiant effort and incredibly hard work, this author has done just exactly that. There is no story here. There is nothing compelling or intriguing or captivating.

Oh, but there are facts, though.

Lots and lots and lots of facts. Tons and tons and tons of dry, boring, meaningless facts.Told one after the other. They don't connect to anything, and there is no overarching theme or story to speak of. It's impossible to care about anything in this book. It will steal your soul and leave you questioning every decision you've ever made - especially buying this book.

2 people found this helpful