It?s amazing how many histories of the world can be conveyed through trips and journeys, but that?s precisely what author Julian Barnes does here in A History of the World in 10½ Chapters. Not every chapter is about a nautical voyage, but some of the most compelling include a stowaway?s point-of-view on Noah?s Ark, the hijacking of a tourist yacht by pirate-like terrorists, a desperate woman?s attempt to escape on a raft from a world of radioactive fallout, a meditation on the historical events and painted depiction of the wreck of an 18th century ship called the Medusa, and an American astronaut?s search for Noah?s Ark on Mount Ararat. The stories are often only connected by apparent chance; the so-called patterns of history are little more than coincidental connections and random links. But the voices from these chapters echo loud and strong, providing a thought-provoking, unconventional, and utterly original set of stories.
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