Third in the author's Oceans of the World series, this considers a body of water which, although the smallest of the seven oceans, can claim more than one superlative -- the most colorful, used, fought over and richest in history. The Gulf Stream is the first concern as the most important single factor with its vagaries and mysterious changes; then come the Phoenicians and Vikings, the Portuguese and Columbus. With the defeat of the Armada is the opening up of the new land, the faltering colonies of Roanoke and Jamestown, the Mayflower (with a chapter on Mayflower II now en route), and the resultant breaking away from the old world. Next come shipping chronicles of privateers, pirates and slavers, whalemen and fishermen, packet ships, sailing ships and passenger transport; there are the facts and fancies about the Mary Celeste, the adventures of small boats, experiences in two world wars and the rapid development of air travel. Here are the mariners and the ships of destiny of the early days, the advances in navigation and naval architecture, the wonders and the hazards of the voyages -- and their results.