Down East: An Illustrated History of Maritime Maine

Lincoln Paine (Author)
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This engaging overview of Maine's maritime history ranges from early Native American travel and fishing to pre-Plymouth European settlements, wars, international trade, shipbuilding, boom-and-bust fisheries, immigrant quarrymen, quick-lime production, yachting, and modern port facilities, all unfolding against one of the most dramatic seascapes on the planet. Down East can be read in an evening but will be referred to again and again. When the first edition was published in 2000, Walter Cronkite--a veteran Maine coastal sailor as well as The Most Trusted Man in America--wrote that "Paine's economy of phrase and clarity of purpose make this book a delight."

Paine went on to write his monumental opus The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World (PW starred review), but now returns to his first and most abiding love, the coast of Maine, to revise and update this gem of a book. The new edition is printed in a large, full-color format with a stunning complement of historical photos, paintings, charts, and illustrations, making this a truly visual journey along a storied coast.

Product Details

Tilbury House Publishers
Publish Date
June 19, 2018
9.0 X 0.9 X 9.9 inches | 2.25 pounds

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About the Author

Lincoln Paine is the author of five books and more than fifty articles, reviews, and lectures on various aspects of maritime history. He lives in Portland, Maine, with his wife, Allison.


This engaging book, chronicling Maine's maritime history from the first explorers to our modern fisheries, can be read in an evening but will be referred to again and again. Lincoln Paine is the author of The Sea and Civilization.
Paine's economy of phrase and clarity of purpose make this book a delight.--Walter Cronkite
Paine's a lyrical stylist, and the breadth of his historical vision is extraordinary.--David Mitchell
It has been my experience that histories packed with information are usually temptingly easy to put down, and that readable ones are likely to be superficial. Down East, however, has the uncommon virtue of being both eminently readable and highly informative.--Thomas S. Kane
Tradition has it that Maine breeds taciturn men whose talk tells much without wasting a word. The author obviously respects tradition, for this slim, graceful volume packs an impressive wealth of history and geography, geology and ecology--all the elements that have shaped the people and places of a singular state.
Such an introduction to a complex subject has its particular challenges. Selection is everything. It must be complete but not smother us with facts. What we want is the pithy remark, the significant detail, the compelling and memorable generalization. And no dumbing down. Keep us awake, but tell us what we need to know. Paine succeeds on every level.--Clinton W. Trowbridge
The book's intent is to give the general reader an enjoyable and accurate overview of the state's maritime history. The trick is to avoid duplicating other historians and still make it useful to scholars and buffs.... Most writers would have shrunk from the task or failed. Remarkably, Paine succeeds. How the writer accomplishes this provides a pointed lesson to historical writers.--William David Barry
Lincoln Paine's Down East: A Maritime History of Maine is an eloquently condensed history of Maine's maritime heritage. . . . It is the history of sail and the Maine coast that lifts [his] artfully condensed saga from mere fact to enjoyable reading.--John N. Cole
Down East is a good introduction to the subject--lively without being either sensational or overly detailed.--Prof. John F. Battick
The text is a masterful synthesis of maritime history, set within the broader context of Maine history.... I believe it is the best introduction to the state available.--Prof. Joel Eastman, USM
The work is interspersed with prose and poetical work from local "Mainers", making it as much a discourse on maritime cultural identity as it is an historical guide to the development of maritime Maine. It also tends to depart from the "cold hard facts" of many maritime histories, drawing more upon the emotive elements of the historical record.--Nathan Richards