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Reviews

  • In its mixture of supreme storytelling, beautifully drawn characters, fearless scope and rigorous scholarship, it ranks with the very best of world histories. ... From Morocco to Hawaii, Australia to the Persian Gulf, he delivers an intense and thrilling tour de force, filled with pirates, kings, scholars, monsters, conquerors, sailors, merchants, adventurers, slavers and slaves, taking us from the age of triremes and longships, hulks and cogs, dhows and junks, galleons and dreadnoughts, all the way up to the container ship.

    Simon Sebag-Montefiore, Daily Telegraph
  • His grasp of the material is not so much encyclopaedic as breathtaking ... this is a tour de force. Writing history on this scale is challenging and enormously impressive; the author deserves applause for a magisterial achievement.

    Peter Frankopan, Sunday Times
  • The Boundless Sea is a work of immense scholarship, a forensic tribute to human enterprise. ... After reading this book your horizons will be wonderfully expanded, and you'll be as eager as the Ancient Mariner to retell its stories... Abulafia's masterpiece has the potential to alter the way we understand the human story and our place within it.

    Horatio Clare, Spectator
  • David Abulfia's The Boundless Sea is a hugely ambitious masterpiece and quite rightly was the winner of this year's Wolfson prize for history. It is a mighty thassolo-gasm and a triumphant successor to his wonderful history of the Mediterranean. Remarkably, it manages to stitch together and make accessible some diverse and often intractable bits of ocean history, and is an astonishingly accomplished work of both scholarly synthesis and fluent narrative history.

    William Dalrymple, The Spectator Books of the Year
  • Nothing less than a history of humanity written from the perspective of the sea

    Jerry Brotton, Financial Times
  • He tells, in broad strokes and pin-sharp detail, the story of how humanity has crossed the oceans to explore, trade and fight ... A big book, full of surprises. I can open it at any page and be engrossed in his incredible scholarship and vivid narrative.

    Hugh Johnson, Daily Mail

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