Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. The ocean comprises the largest object on our planet. Retelling human history from an oceanic rather than terrestrial point of view unsettles our relationship with the natural environment. Unlike familiar stories of agricultural settlements and conquering empires, an oceanic context immerses human bodies in alien waters. Our engagement with the world ocean can be destructive, as with today's deluge of plastic trash and acidification, but the mismatch between small bodies and vast seas also emphasizes the frailty of human experience. From ancient stories of shipwrecked sailors to the containerized future of 21st-century commerce, Ocean splashes the histories we thought we knew into an unfamiliar context. Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in the The Atlantic .