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A grand sweep of history by the late Fernand Braudel–one of the twentieth century’s most influential historians–Memory and the Mediterranean chronicles the Mediterranean’s immeasurably rich past during the foundational period from prehistory to classical antiquity, illuminating nothing less than the bedrock of our civilization and the very origins of Western culture. Essential for historians, yet written explicitly for the general reader, this magnificent account of the ebb and flow of cultures shaped by the Mediterranean takes us from the great sea’s geologic beginnings through the ancient civilizations that flourished along its shores. Moving with ease from Mesopotamia and Egypt to the flowering of Crete and the early Aegean peoples, and culminating in the prodigious achievements of ancient Greece and Rome, Braudel conveys in absorbing detail the geography and climate of the region over the course of millennia while brilliantly explaining the larger forces that gave rise to agriculture, writing, sea travel, trade, and, ultimately, the emergence of empires. Impressive in scope and gracefully written, Memory and the Mediterranean is an endlessly enriching work of history by a legend in the field. From the Trade Paperback edition.