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Seven Tenthsby J Hamilton Paterson
Seven-Tenths is a multifaceted ode to the "sea and its thresholds." Hamilton-Paterson takes the reader on tour with scientists and fishermen, seafaring nomads, and resort developers. He contrasts their exploits with poetic fables and a "pre-GPS" history in which he discusses imaginary islands, sea curses, and sirens. It's meandering and fascinating, and really the most convincing environmentalist text I've read.
Hamilton-Paterson doesn't slap you with heavy-handed preaching; he lets the mystery and importance of the sea shine through the narrative, showing the reader how much humans need the sea (biologically and spiritually) and how close we are to destroying it.
Synopses & Reviews
James Hamilton-Paterson's classic exploration of the sea, Seven Tenths is a beautifully written blend of literature and science that includes the acclaimed essay "Sea Burial." Hamilton-Paterson writes about fishing, piracy, ecological crises, and is especially brilliant on the melancholy fascination of those border places and moments when the sea and land meet and the human experience seems transient.
Taking humanity's complex relationship with the sea as its starting point, Seven Tenths is an enticing meditation on the sea as the physical birthplace of the human race and the emotional source of our dreams. Shifting effortlessly between the sciences and the humanities-between cartography and poetry, between ecology and philosophy-Hamilton-Paterson has created one of the most engrossing works on the sea in recent memory. The prose is never less than stunning, even as it is employed to describe exactly what happens to a human body during a burial at sea, as it sinks slowly through miles of water.
At a time of growing concern about our degradation of the oceans, this extraordinary book is an immensely relevant and powerful reminder of the power, fragility and sublime beauty of the sea.
Taking humanity's complex relationship with the sea as its starting point, "Seven Tenths" is an enticing meditation on the sea as the physical birthplace of the human race and the emotional source of its dreams.
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