The Ocean Reader

History, Culture, Politics

The Ocean Reader

The World Readers

More about this series

Book Pages: 544 Illustrations: 82 illustrations, incl. 9 in color Published: January 2020

Cultural Studies > Ocean Studies, Environmental Studies, History > World History

From prehistoric times to the present, the Ocean has been used as a highway for trade, a source of food and resources, and a space for recreation and military conquest, as well as an inspiration for religion, culture, and the arts. The Ocean Reader charts humans' relationship to the Ocean, which has often been seen as a changeless space without a history. It collects familiar, forgotten, and previously unpublished texts from all corners of the world. Spanning antiquity to the present, the volume's selections cover myriad topics including the slave trade, explorers from China and the Middle East, shipwrecks and castaways, Caribbean and Somali pirates, battles and U-boats, narratives of the Ocean's origins, and the devastating effects of climate change. Containing gems of maritime writing ranging from myth, memoir, poetry, and scientific research to journalism, song lyrics, and scholarly writing, The Ocean Reader is the essential guide for all those wanting to understand the complex and long history of the Ocean that covers over 70 percent of the planet.


“Eric Paul Roorda’s selections for The Ocean Reader constitute an essential introduction to the wealth of writing—factual, fictional, and meditative; historical, experiential, and environmental—generated by people around the world throughout the course of recorded history. This volume is an essential companion for anyone interested in the story of our collective engagement with the world Ocean that touches us all.” — Lincoln Paine, author of The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World

“It's easy to pay lip service to the Ocean's vastness and its essential importance in human history. And yet, as Eric Paul Roorda notes, we still hold on to the conceit that only life on land really matters. This fabulous anthology—as deep as the Ocean itself—is a stunning compendium of materials that, for the landlubbers among us, opens up remarkably new understandings.” — Orin Starn, Professor of Cultural Anthropology and History, Duke University


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Open Access

Fall 2019 Sale
Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Eric Paul Roorda is Professor of History at Bellarmine University; coeditor of The Dominican Republic Reader and author of The Dictator Next Door: The Good Neighbor Policy and the Trujillo Regime in the Dominican Republic, 1930–1945, both also published by Duke University Press; and editor of Twain at Sea: The Maritime Writings of Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

Table of Contents Back to Top
A Note on The Ocean Reader  xv
Acknowledgments  vii
Introduction  1
I. Creation  5
II. Ancient Seas  41
III. Unknown Waters  73
IV. Saltwater Hunt  121
V. Watery Highways  151
VI. Battlefields  203
VII. Piracy  261
VIII. Shipwrecks and Castaways  297
IX. Inspiration  337
X. Recreation  377
XI. Laboratory  433
XII. The Endangered Ocean  463
Suggestions for Further Reading  499
Acknowledgment of Copyrights and Sources  505
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0696-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0600-8
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