There are not many reviews published in New Zealand newspapers and magazines, these days, so it is a real scoop to be reviewed at all, let alone get a good one.
The Sea And Civilisation by Lincoln Paine (Atlantic Books $75)
At 744 pages, this feels as big as the sea and it needs to be, because the story it tells is a magnificent one. Paine's sweeping account of how maritime travel has shaped our world -- spreading goods, gods, technology and culture -- begins with the extraordinary exploits of the people of the Pacific. then it moves from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley to the great navigators of Phoenicia, Arabia and China before reaching the age of Europe. The sea's influence may seem to have shrunk, being seen mainly as a playground, but thanks to the unromantic container, it remains the engine of the global economy.
Reviewed by either Jim Eagles or Mark Fryer in Canvas, the insert mini-magazine of The New Zealand Herald, Saturday 3 May.