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Books in brief: The Sea and Civilization by Lincoln Paine

By Bettany Hughes  

The Sea and Civilization

by Lincoln Paine (Atlantic, £30)

Before you embark on this book I’d advise considering what civilization means to you. Is it a shared way of being (the word derives from civitas—Latin for citizen)? Or is it something deeper; a compulsion that came before the word-idea, a yearning for more; a drive to experience what we do not know, to reach out beyond our immediate horizons? Lincoln Paine’s expansive survey of humanity’s relationship with the sea from 10,000 BC onwards bills itself as an alternative history of…

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