cover image Let the Sea Make a Noise--: A History of the North Pacific from Magellan to MacArthur

Let the Sea Make a Noise--: A History of the North Pacific from Magellan to MacArthur

Walter A. McDougall, Author Basic Books $30 (793p) ISBN 978-0-465-05152-6

McDougall chronicles the cultural, racial, economic and military confrontations of the British, Spaniards, Hawaiians and Chinese in the North Pacific since the 16th century. He pays special attention to the intertwined histories of the Americans, Russians and Japanese who made the North Pacific an arena for power politics. A history professor at the University of Pennsylvania (and author of the Pulitzer-winning The Heavens and the Earth ), McDougall is a first-rate scholar and a marvelous writer. Here he periodically interrupts his headlong narrative to present the minutes of seminars attended by ghosts of the North Pacific past: Father Junipero Serra, a Spanish missionary; Kaahumanu, consort of Hawaiian King Kamehameha; William Seward, Lincoln's secretary of state; Count Sergey Witte, prime minister to Russia's Nicholas II; and Saito Hirosi, pre-Pearl Harbor Japanese ambassador to Washington. These well-informed, opinionated wraiths discuss and argue with one another (and with the author) about such matters as the theory of the mongrelization of races and the extraordinary profusion of atrocities committed by the Japanese military in WW II. This is an impressive study, breathtaking in scope, entertainingly informative and thought-provoking. Photos. $25,000 ad/promo; BOMC and QPB alternates. (Sept.)