Pacific by Simon Winchester


Following his acclaimed Atlantic and The Men Who United the States, New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester offers an enthralling biography of the Pacific Ocean and its role in the modern world, exploring our relationship with this imposing force of nature.As the Mediterranean shaped the classical world, and the Atlantic connected Europe to the New World, the Pacific Ocean defines our tomorrow. With China on the rise, so, too, are the ...

Details Pacific

Release DateOct 27th, 2015
GenreNonfiction, Science, History, Travel, Politics, Cultural, Asia

Reviews Pacific

  • Will Byrnes
    7/7/16 - I added a link to NY Times on China's seaward expansion. Check out the article at the bottom in EXTRA STUFF. Simon Winchester takes pride in being a traveler. It was another traveler, the explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who, in 1520, gave the largest body of water on our planet the name by which we have known it ever since. After surviving a trip through the straits (now called the Straits of Magellan) at the southern tip of South America, ...
  • Brendon Schrodinger
    Simon Winchester has been on my radar for a while now. I love history, geography and science, so it was bound to happen eventually. By why did it take this long? On my last trip to my favourite bookstore in Sydney I noticed that his new book was out. Why not?Well I enjoyed this read immensely. Each chapter revolves around one theme of the Pacific. For example, the first chapter looks at nuclear testing in the Pacific and relates it to world polit...
  • Nooilforpacifists
    I'll admit: I'm not a Winchester fan. But I'll also admit a deep (ha!) interest in the history, politics and science of the Pacific Ocean.I'll admit: this may be among Winchester's best books. But it left me cold. His writing is so fussy and pedantic--it's big and important; you should be paying attention--and repetitious. Not to mention ass-backwards. This is a 2.5 - 3 star book.Who else but Winchester would *start* with a huge chapter devoted t...
  • Steven Z.
    Simon Winchester’s latest book, PACIFIC: SILICON CHIPS AND SURFBOARDS, CORAL REEFS AND ATOM BOMBS, BRUTAL DICTATORS, FADING EMPIRES, AND THE COMING COLLISION OF THE WORLD’S SUPERPOWERS reinforces why I am such a fan and admirer of this eclectic social scientist. No matter what topic Mr. Winchester takes on he has the uncanny ability to unwind what is a standard interpretation or history of a well-known topic and ferret out little known detail...
  • Ints
    Saimons Vinčesters, manuprāt, ir viens no labākajiem non-fiction autoriem. Viņa stāstiem varbūt nepiemīt Braisona humors, bet toties ir ļoti dziļas zināšanas par apskatāmo tēmu. Es melotu, ja teiktu, ka esmu izlasījis visas viņa grāmatas. Viena, kura veltīta Ķīnai, man plauktā jau stāv gadus septiņus. Šo grāmatu es iegādājos janvārī, bet izlasīju tikai pēc astoņiem mēnešiem. Iemesls - viņa tika nobāzta augšējo...
  • 4triplezed
    It is hard not to enjoy the popular history and travels that Simon Winchester writes. At his best he is a page turner. Pacific at its best is that. It was also not what I expected as I grabbed my copy a few days prior to heading to the tropical beaches of Fiji with the thought that I was reading an entire history of the ocean itself. That will teach me to not read up on what I am about to read. In the end we have a book that consists of almost es...
  • Michael Rodriguez
    A pleasure read with surprising moral heft and geopolitical insight. Popular history at its finest.
  • Susan
    At first I thought I might give up on this book before finishing, but that was not the case. Author’s into was long and didn’t catch my attention at all, but once I got into the text, I was hooked. The atomic testing in the Pacific in the 50 is, I knew about, but I appreciated the detail. But it was here that I discovered Winchester’s sub-theme about the dignity of all persons. In the Fifties the tests hurt Pacific Islanders who were summar...
  • Jonathan Leblang
    Just finished listening to this on Audible. Not only is Winchester a pleasure to listen to (there is some of that "well, he has a British accent, so he must be educated" air about his diction), but he is a great storyteller. Not as much as a book about a specific thing, but a collection of rather good New Yorker or (heh) The Atlantic length magazine articles, held together by their connection to the Pacific Ocean. He jumps from the US A-Bomb test...
  • Krista
    I love well-researched but readable and accessible histories. This is one of them.Broken up into long-article length chapters (Winchester says this "structural vade mecum" was inspired by a book by Stefan Zweig, most recently translated with the title Shooting Stars. A "slender collection of ten ruminative essays...about what Zweig considered to be seminal moments in the tide of human experience."Pacific is not slender but it is ruminative and I ...
  • Lynn
    Today's post is on Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers by Simon Winchester. It is 480 pages long and is published by HarperCollins. The cover is a beautiful mix of pictures and art work of the pacific ocean. The intended reader likes history, grand stories, and good research. There is no language, no sex, and no violence in this bo...
  • George
    A fascinating topic, but, given its scope, lacking in the fine detail of his studies of say Krakatoa or the strange relationship around the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary between Scottish Oxford lexicographer Sir James Murray and insane ex-patriate American Army surgeon Dr. W. C. Minor. While I applaud Winchester's decision to follow Stefan Zweig's lead from The Tide of Fortune: Twelve Historical Miniatures (1940), and tell his story t...
  • Joshua
    I adore almost everything Winchester has written, and as a scientist working in the Pacific I approached this book with very high expectations. These were only heightened after seeing him speak at the New York Public Library. I love his voice and I read most of his works with hearing his voice in my head. Like Atlantic this book approaches a tremendously large topic. Much like in Atlantic, Winchester tells the story of the general though insights...
  • Hayley Chwazik-Gee
    Simon Winchester's Pacific was a wonderfully unique historical biography of the ocean since 1950. While at times the narrative was dauntingly substantial in facts and events, Winchester masterfully wove one story into the next. Only upon finishing did I really appreciate the extent to how much research, time, and pure brainpower went into linking certain catalysts to events that often spanned years and countries.Ultimately, this book made me curi...
  • David Bales
    Another magnificent book by journalist and author Simon Winchester, somewhat different from his book "The Atlantic." This one is done in several interlocking chapters about various historical epics concerning the Pacific today, concentrating on post-1950 events; included are such things as the atom and hydrogen bomb tests in the late forties and early fifties and their terrible aftermath for the citizens of Bikini, the rise of Japan with the inve...
  • Teri
    Pacific is really a set of essays by the author about historical events and people centered around the Pacific Ocean. Winchester takes us on a chronological journey starting with the testing of a-bombs at the Bikini Atoll in the 40s and 50s and ending with the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991, leaving the area defenseless at a time when China was wielding its strong arm of power. Along the way we learn about such things as the ...
  • Barbara
    I didn't get very far in this big, fat book bursting with facts before I had to return it to the library (there's a waiting list). I can say that it's full of many varieties of information and some robust opinions. Just the sort of thing I love. I might have to buy my own copy.I read quite a bit about Guam...I got a lot further at my second go. Gave up towards the end (due back to the library again). Australians of my vintage will be familiar wit...
  • Jennifer
    This book is so timely in terms of geopolitics (China, N Korea) and the environment (El Nino weather, coral bleaching) but it's not Winchester's best writing. He strays off topic too much and sometimes repeats himself within a chapter. I liked the El Niño chapter and the chapter about the deep sea thermal vents the best.
  • da AL
    Mr. Winchester is amazing. His reading enthralls, as does the subject matter. He thoroughly covers countries, politics, ecology, & on & on, yet manages it elegantly.
  • Zeb Kantrowitz
    NOTE: this was a free eBook from EdelweissIn the preface, Winchester presents his premise that he will write the book about the history of the Pacific Ocean, based on ten major occurrences from the 20th century. He starts with a discovery, political upheaval or cultural change and then goes on to explain the history behind it and the geographic area.The first vignette relates to the use of remote Pacific Islands and Atolls as places to test nucle...
  • Alexis
    Read this on a roadtrip and really enjoyed it. Simon Winchester was a great narrator of his book and this was interesting enough to keep my boyfriend and I (who have very different tastes in books) interested for 15+ hours of car-ride. The format per Stefan Zweig's "Decisive Moments in History" works really well and the topics are by and large interesting. Overall, great piece of travel writing or writing to read while travelling.
  • Marianne Wason
    First of all, I thank my niece Lindsey for giving me Pacific for my birthday. She knows me well. I loved Winchester’s The Professor and the Madman and expected to love Pacific too. I do, for different reasons – logical, since the books are so different. For Pacific, Winchester explored a multitude of themes before choosing ten “happenings” between 1950 and 2014 that “seemed to betoken some greater trend, and which might tell in microcos...
  • Kenneth Iltz
    Simon Winchester is famous for books such as Krakatoa and The Professor and the Madman. Tackling the Pacific is a task as big as the planet’s largest body of water. it occupies roughly 64 million square miles and measures 10,000 miles from Panama to Palawan and nearly 9,000 from Marie Byrd Land in Antarctica to the Bering Strait. Simon Winchester’s method involves examining 10 key moments in the ocean’s recent history. It is a Whitman Sampl...
  • David Hill
    This is a set of eleven essays -ten chapters and an epilogue - anchored on events that took place after 1950 in the Pacific Ocean. It's an interesting technique - every story has to start somewhere, and Winchester's selection of the specific events is generally pretty good. His essay on China's current naval strategy begins with the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. The immediate effect of the eruption was the closure of the two large USA bases in the Ph...
  • Justin Gaynor
    I'm not sure why Simon Winchester's books leave me so cold. For the most part, this book is highly readable and educational, but there are enough pedantic intrusions to seriously distract me. This has been true of each of his books I've read.In this particular book, he's decided to make a case that the Pacific is the most wonderful ocean on earth. Biggest! Deepest! Most fish! Hottest volcanoes! etc. etc. He mentions all sorts of interesting histo...
  • Joyce
    Winchester never disappoints, or at least not totally. This "biography" of the Pacific ocean focuses on history, sociology, economics, and politics--not nearly enough geology for me, but that's a small quibble about an enormously informative and entertaining book. It's well-researched, written in polished prose, and filled with personal anecdotes that make the information all the more accessible. It's also issue-oriented, and he lays out his conc...
  • Rob
    If you’re a fan of Simon Winchester’s books, this one’s his best. It’s a topsy-turvy look at the Pacific Rim and the various activities by the countries involved that have affected our everyday lives. From the testing of nuclear weapons, the development of the transistor radio, to Hawaiian surfing, it’s all here. It’s not only an interesting history lesson (the capture of the USS Pueblo, the sinking of the RMS Queen Elizabeth in Hong ...
  • Pamela
    Truly fascinating stories of various countries and peoples in, on or around the Pacific Ocean. In a few very engaging chapters, Simon Winchester manages to give a fairly comprehensive history of many of the salient events occurring around the Pacific rim. He touches on the history of surfboarding, coral bleaching in Australia, and the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines and its implication of future military competition. An easy and infor...
  • Matt Stevens
    Library Audiobook. Winchester is fantastic as always. Love hearing him read his own books. A couple chapters feel a bit wandering at times. But the stories always come back to the central idea.
  • Lucas Moctezuma
    Winchester’s “Pacific” is an inspiring yet devastating, optimistic yet pessimistic look at the geopolitics, geography, geology, history and drama of a complicated body of water and the land masses in and around it.A wonderfully written saga of a range of topics - from nuclear bombs on small islands and US-Chinese warfare to the invention of the first radio transmitter, the story of the Sydney Opera House and the tyranny of the North Korean ...