David Abulafia has written extensively on the political, economic and social history of the Mediterranean, especially Sicily, southern Italy and the Catalan world. His books, several of which have been translated into Italian, Spanish or German, include The Two Italies, A Mediterranean Emporium and The Western Mediterranean Kingdoms 1200-1500, The New Cambridge Medieval History, volume 5, c.1198-1300, which he edited, and Frederick II. He has also written over a hundred historical articles. He had lectured in several European countries and in the United States, Israel and Japan, and he regularly visits Italy for his research. He has been awarded the King Roger II Prize in Sicily for his books on the history of the island. He strongly believes that historians should attempt to convey the results of their research to a wider public. He is Professor of Mediterranean History at Cambridge University and he has been a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, since 1974.
In its mixture of supreme storytelling, beautifully drawn characters, fearless scope and rigorous scholarship, it ranks with the very best of world histories. ... From Morocco to Hawaii, Australia to the Persian Gulf, he delivers an intense and thrilling tour de force, filled with pirates, kings, scholars, monsters, conquerors, sailors, merchants, adventurers, slavers and slaves, taking us from the age of triremes and longships, hulks and cogs, dhows and junks, galleons and dreadnoughts, all the way up to the container ship. -- Simon Sebag-Montefiore * Daily Telegraph * His grasp of the material is not so much encyclopaedic as breathtaking ... this is a tour de force. Writing history on this scale is challenging and enormously impressive; the author deserves applause for a magisterial achievement. -- Peter Frankopan * Sunday Times * The Boundless Sea is a work of immense scholarship, a forensic tribute to human enterprise. ... After reading this book your horizons will be wonderfully expanded, and you'll be as eager as the Ancient Mariner to retell its stories... Abulafia's masterpiece has the potential to alter the way we understand the human story and our place within it. -- Horatio Clare * Spectator * David Abulfia's The Boundless Sea is a hugely ambitious masterpiece and quite rightly was the winner of this year's Wolfson prize for history. It is a mighty thassolo-gasm and a triumphant successor to his wonderful history of the Mediterranean. Remarkably, it manages to stitch together and make accessible some diverse and often intractable bits of ocean history, and is an astonishingly accomplished work of both scholarly synthesis and fluent narrative history. -- William Dalrymple * The Spectator Books of the Year * Nothing less than a history of humanity written from the perspective of the sea -- Jerry Brotton * Financial Times *