Pacific by Simon Winchester

Simon Winchester delivers this seemingly eclectic narrative of ten incidents occurring in the Pacific which appear to be unrelated – but as he tells the back story on each incident the reader sees how inter-related they are. Winchester, with his sharp British wit, writes in a quick style making a compelling case for the pivot away from the Atlantic and to the Pacific by arguing that the United States (and Canada and Mexico to some degree) are really Pacific Rim nations and that the future interests of the U.S. lie with the Pacific and her people, including the Chinese.  From the birth of surfing and the California beach culture it spawned to the nuclear explosions on remote Pacific atolls to Australia and its emerging role to the potential for confrontation with an increasingly militarizing China, Winchester blends all 10 incidents together, providing some terrific insight into the history and future of the Pacific and why it matters to the United States. – Patrick Fleming