A History of the World in Twelve Shipwrecks

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781399603485

Price: £25

ON SALE: 8th February 2024

Genre: Humanities / History / History: Specific Events & Topics / Maritime History

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‘Masterful and entrancing – this is big history at its best.’ Professor Alice Roberts, author of Ancestors

From a Bronze Age ship built during the age of Queen Nefertiti and filled with ancient treasures, a Viking warship made for King Cnut himself, Henry VIII’s spectacular Mary Rose and the golden age of the Tudor court, to the exploration of the Arctic, the tragic story of HMS Terror and tales of bravery and endurance aboard HMS Gairsoppa in World War Two, these are the stories of some of the greatest underwater discoveries of all time. A rich and exciting narrative, this is not just the story of those ships and the people who sailed on them, the cargo and treasure they carried and their tragic fate. This is also the story of the spread of people, religion and ideas around the world, a story of colonialism and migration which continues today.

Drawing on decades of experience excavating shipwrecks around the world, renowned maritime archaeologist David Gibbins reveals the riches beneath the waves and shows us how the treasures found there can be a porthole to the past to tell a new story about the world and its underwater secrets.

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He does an excellent job of placing each wreck within a broader context, as well as examining the human elements of the story. The result is a book that will appeal to readers with an interest in maritime history and who would enjoy a different, and enlightening, perspective. Gibbins combines historical knowledge with a sense of adventure, making this book a highly enjoyable package.
Kirkus Reviews
From every corner of our ship-hungry oceans, from simple oar-propelled boats of the Bronze Age to great 19th century steam-powered juggernauts of trade and war, the author (an esteemed archaeologist) gives us a history of the world in a sea-salted way that has never been done before. A bravura work, insightfully woven, grippingly told and beautifully illustrated.
Mensun Bound, author of The Ship Beneath the Ice
Absolutely fascinating, beautifully written and impeccably researched. David Gibbin's deep dive into maritime archaeology is masterful and entrancing - this is big history at its best.
Professor Alice Roberts, author of Ancestors
I love this book. It shows the talents of the researcher married to the skills of a master storyteller, and every page recreates the frisson of my youth at the anticipation of a discovery or a mystery revealed. This book will be treasured by all who are hooked on the mystique of loss, the romance of discovery and the sense that shipwrecks give of having captured a moment in time.
Sir Tim Smit, co-founder, the Eden Project