cover image Pacific Rising: The Emergence of a New World Culture

Pacific Rising: The Emergence of a New World Culture

Simon Winchester. Prentice Hall, $24.95 (496pp) ISBN 978-0-13-807793-8

In the author's view the primacy of the Atlantic is a thing of the past. Los Angeles is about to replace New York as the world's busiest port. The yenwill, in all probability, be the global currency of tomorrow. (Winchester tellingly compares America's credit-card economy with the cash-and-savings ethic of the Japanese.) A correspondent for the London Sunday Times , Winchester takes a searching look at the complicated mosaic of peoples, religions, philosophies and histories of some of the countries in and around the world's largest ocean, and at the ocean itself. In a sprightly style he describes its geology and weather, the laying of the first transpacific cable, the pioneering of air routes, the dispersion of the Chinese and their worldwide influence, and many other subjects of general interest. There is also discussion of whether countries with Confucian-Buddhist roots are more effective in coping with industrial/technological challenges than are countries with Christian-Hebraic roots. The book includes friendly observations about people and places as far-flung as the Aleutians and Queensland. Delightful and informative. First serial to the Atlantic and Smithsonian. (Apr.)