Dec 2, 2010
In this interview, Claudia Cragg speaks with Simon Winchester about his latest work of non-fiction, Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms,and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories. In this interview, he discusses those facets of the book that deal with climate change and global warming, ecology, the United States before Columbus, the parallels with space exploration and the Human Genome project, all as they relate to The Atlantic.
"Atlantic is a biography of a tremendous space that has been central to the ambitions of explorers, scientists, and warriors, and continues profoundly to affect our character, attitudes, and dreams. Spanning the ocean's story, from its geological origins to the age of exploration, from World War II battles to today's struggles with pollution and overfishing, Winchester's narrative is epic, intimate, and awe inspiring".
Winchester's book relates that, tilll a thousand years ago, few humans ventured into the Atlantic or imagined traversing its vast infinity. But once the first daring mariners successfully navigated to its far shores—whether they were Vikings, the Irish, the Basques, John Cabot, or Christopher Columbus in the north, or the Portuguese and the Spanish in the south—the Atlantic swiftly evolved in the world's growing consciousness of itself as an enclosed body of water. Soon it became the fulcrum of Western civilization. More than a mere history, Atlantic is an unforgettable journey of unprecedented scope by one of the most gifted writers in the English language.
It was in 1969 that Simon Winchester started his writing career when he joined The Guardian, for whom he was Northern Ireland Correspondent during The Troubles, including the events of Bloody Sunday and the Belfast Hour of Terror. He was then briefly assigned to Calcutta before becoming American correspondent in Washington, D.C., where he covered stories from the end of Richard Nixon's administration to the start of Jimmy Carter's presidency. In 1982, while working as the Chief Foreign Feature Writer for The Sunday Times, Winchester was on location for the invasion of the Falklands Islands by Argentine forces. Suspected of being a spy, Winchester was held as a prisoner in Tierra del Fuego for three months. You might also like to listen to the 'Chatting Up a Storm' Claudia Cragg interview for KGNU with Simon Winchester on an earlier book 'Joseph Needham: The Man Who Loved China'.
(Apart from being made universally available, free, in this podcast, many of these interviews are conducted for and are broadcast on KGNU Denver-Boulder. This is a public radio station, like all public radio stations in these hard economic times, in need of listener funding and support. Kindly consider making a donation to KGNU, however small, to the station (NOT to Claudia Cragg) to continue to make air broadcast of this work possible).