BookshelfJacob deGroot-Maggetti

Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers – Simon Winchester

Summary: Simon Winchester writes about cultural, political and environmental trends in the Pacific Ocean, focussing on the period from 1950 up to the present day. Instead of attempting a sweeping summary of the region's history, Winchester selects a handful of topics—the testing of nuclear weapons, surfing’s rise in popularity, the discovery of hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean, and so on—that he sees as representative of larger patterns.

Thoughts: A decent book; Winchester is an engaging author. I particularly enjoyed the epilogue, with its discussion of how the indigenous people of Polynesia were able to travel freely from island to island, and thus represent one culture even while separated by vast expanses of ocean.

(The notes below are not a summary of the book, but rather raw notes - whatever I thought, at the time, might be worth remembering.)

Winchester, Simon. 2015. Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers. Harper.

Prologue: The Lonely Sea and the Sky

Author’s Note: On Carbon

Chapter 1: The Great Thermonuclear Sea

Chapter 2: Mr. Ibuka’s Radio Revolution

Chapter 3: The Ecstasies of Wave Riding

Chapter 4: A Dire and Dangerous Irritation

Chapter 5: Farewell, All My Friends and Foes

Chapter 6: Echoes of Distant Thunder

Chapter 7: How Goes the Lucky Country?

Chapter 8: The Fires in the Deep

Chapter 9: A Fragile and Uncertain Sea

Chapter 10: Of Masters and Commanders

Epilogue: The Call of the Running Tide

Notes

Posted: Feb 11, 2021. Last updated: Feb 11, 2021.