Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers
Pacific from author Simon Winchester, Officer of the Order of the British Empire, and author of Atlantic, is a fascinating study of an sea that he argues was misnamed. Winchester writes that it has not been a peaceful place for most. His stories start in 1950 and much of the book is about military conflicts, politics, and adverse weather. Here told are more than 10 stories of the Pacific Ocean, beginning with the nuclear tests that took place out there. The nuclear attacks on Japan and the subsequent nuclear tests set the mood.
Winchester found the Pacific less of a struggle to chronicle than the Atlantic. One finds him struggling again with Post Modernism which argues that there is no single grand narrative. Instead there are different stories for different types of people. He does an admirable job focusing on different narratives that are representory. There is nuclear confrontations, technological breakthroughs that affected the world, recreational pursuits, deep sea exploration, environmental damage, dangerous weather and earthquakes, and old traditional cultures. Sadly missing are the old tales, some from the likes of Jack London who sought out other places and cultures before these modern stories begin. Things have changed and Winchester brings the reader up to date.