Simon Winchester on his new book
Simon will describe the writing of his new, celebrated book, Pacific.
“We live a very long way from the shores of the Pacific Ocean – a sea so immeasurably vast it could swallow all the continents and have room to spare. But our distance from it should not cloud our realization that this is the ocean around which all our futures will now play out – for it is where mankind’s relentless westward spread across the globe has come full circle, and that across the Date Line is where west and east finally, truly meet. The modern Pacific offers a tableau of awesome variety – atom bombs and coral reefs, surfboards and submarines, Apple and Sony, ukuleles and didgeridoos, North Korea and Chile, Polynesians and Ainu, icebergs and cyclones and blue-washed strands of limitless leaning palm trees. But its sheer beauty is deceiving. For this is also where the world’s two great superpowers will now face each other down, where America and China will test their mutual ambitions to lead tomorrow’s world into its Pacific future, a reality which will all of a sudden make this faraway ocean seem very near, a body of water with which all of us should become familiar and fully aware.”