The Great Sea, By David Abulafia
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
Saturday 23 June 2012
Supremely scholarly and yet thoroughly readable, Abulafia's "human history of the Mediterranean" spans four millennia and thousands of miles. It even stands comparison with its great forerunner, Braudel's trilogy about the 16th-century region.
From the semi-mythical Troy and Mycenae to the age of holiday resorts and desperate African migrants, Abulafia depicts the middle sea as a vast crossroads, or sail-, oar- and steam-powered interchange of culture and people.
The land divided while the waters united. Wherever in the Med you go, from Malaga to Marmaris, this superb survey will enrich every trip.
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