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This essay reviews recent scholarship in oceanic and imperial history in the context of the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Marcus Rediker's classic book, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. It offers a critique of Atlantic History as it is currently practiced and proposes a new category, "coastal history," to describe scholarship that engages with oceans but does not center upon them. In evaluating work by N.A.M. Rodger, Paul Gilje, Kathleen Wilson, Michael Fisher, and others, the essay explores how ships and sailors both are, and are not, representative of the social history of islands and coastal regions.