Human Shore Seacoasts in History

ISBN-10: 0226922235
ISBN-13: 9780226922232
Edition: 2012
Authors: John R. Gillis
List price: $27.50
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Description: Since before recorded history, people have congregated near water. But as growing populations around the globe continue to flow toward the coasts on an unprecedented scale and climate change raises water levels, our relationship to the sea has begun  More...

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Book details

List price: $27.50
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication date: 10/17/2012
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 256
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.320
Language: English

Since before recorded history, people have congregated near water. But as growing populations around the globe continue to flow toward the coasts on an unprecedented scale and climate change raises water levels, our relationship to the sea has begun to take on new and potentially catastrophic dimensions. The latest generation of coastal dwellers lives largely in ignorance of the history of those who came before them, the natural environment, and the need to live sustainably on the world’s shores. Humanity has forgotten how to live with the oceans. InThe Human Shore, a magisterial account of 100,000 years of seaside civilization, John R. Gillis recovers the coastal experience from its origins among the people who dwelled along the African shore to the bustle and glitz of today’s megacities and beach resorts. He takes readers from discussion of the possible coastal location of the Garden of Eden to the ancient communities that have existed along beaches, bays, and bayous since the beginning of human society to the crucial role played by coasts during the age of discovery and empire. An account of the mass movement of whole populations to the coasts in the last half-century brings the story of coastal life into the present. Along the way, Gillis addresses humankind’s changing relationship to the sea from an environmental perspective, laying out the history of the making and remaking of coastal landscapes—the creation of ports, the draining of wetlands, the introduction and extinction of marine animals, and the invention of the beach—while giving us a global understanding of our relationship to the water. Learned and deeply personal,The Human Shoreis more than a history: it is the story of a space that has been central to the attitudes, plans, and existence of those who live and dream at land’s end.

John R. Gillis is the author of Islands of the Mind; A World of Their Own Making: Myth Ritual, and the Quest for Family Values; and Commemorations. A professor of history emeritus at Rutgers University, he now divides his time between two coasts: Northern California and Maine.

List of Illustrations
Introduction
An Alternative to Eden
Coasts of the Ancient Mariner
Sea Frontiers of the Early Modern Atlantic
Settling the Shores
The Second Discovery of the Sea
Coastal Dreams and Nightmares
Conclusion: Learning to Live with Coasts
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

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