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Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures From the Census of Marine Life Hardcover – September 14, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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"Citizens of the Sea is not a book to be read alone. It is packed with facts and photographs that are so cool, so bizarre, and so downright amazing that you'll want to make sure you have some willing company to share them with.[…] Although you may find yourself reading Citizens of the Seacover-to-cover regardless of your intentions, its gorgeous photos, one-page stories, and "fast fact" boxes also lend themselves to coffee table perusal. The book would be an excellent vehicle for inspiring older children to get excited about the ocean, but I would particularly recommend it for adults who want to rekindle their childlike wonder. Just don't read it alone!" —Joanna Solins, CORAL Communications Associate

"Citizens of the Sea: Wondrous Creatures from the Census of Marine Life by Nancy Knowlton is a new National Geographic production, and the perfect book for curling up with on a cloudy afternoon with a big pot of tea. The photos, of course, are mind blowing, and Nancy's accompanying text is bright, fun to read, and chock full of the "beauty, weirdness, and wonder of the sea."  Nancy is a serious scientist known for her work discovering new corals and figuring out new ways of classifying them. Increasingly, she has turned her attention to helping others understand the ocean's wonders — "as its citizens have no vote in any international body, but they need to be heard." This book is a unique combination of photos and substance." —Nancy Baron, Author of Escape from the Ivory Tower and Ocean Science Outreach Director for SeaWeb and COMPASS

“Citizens of the Sea,” is a dazzling collection of photographs of undersea creatures, with commentary by Nancy Knowlton, a marine scientist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and a leader of the census effort. The book’s goal is to introduce readers to the plants and animals that inhabit the marine world — from Antarctic ice to more than six miles down, near the bottom of the Marianas Trench, the deepest spot on the ocean floor. In its pages we encounter creatures both familiar and strange. Most will enjoy it as a journey through what remains a largely alien landscape filled with beautiful and often bizarre creatures." —Cornelia Dean, "Getting to Know Your Neighbors Below the Surface," The New York Times Science Section

The Census of Marine Life, a decade-long project encompassing more than 2,700 scientists across the world, sought to answer a basic but daunting question: What lives in the ocean? The census revealed thousands of new species. National Geographic's new book "Citizens of the Sea", captures many of them.—Washington Post

“Beautifully illustrated…an eye-opening introduction to the life in the sea that surrounds us.”
 –Keysnews.com
 
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426206437
  • ISBN-13: 978-1426206436
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nancy Knowlton has devoted her life to studying, celebrating, and striving to protect the multitude of life-forms that call the sea home. She grew up roaming the shores of Long Island Sound, and her research has taken her to coral reefs around the world. She is the Sant Chair for Marine Science and Editor-in-Chief of the Ocean Portal (http://ocean.si.edu) at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. She also founded the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California, San Diego. In recognition of her scientific contributions benefiting the environment, she won the Peter Benchley Award in 2009 and the Heinz Award in 2011. In 2013 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and to the National Academy of Sciences. She lives with her husband in Washington, D.C. and Brooksville, Maine.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
My father, who was a P.O.W. survivor of World War II always urged us to eat slowly and chew our food thoroughly. He credited that practice for his survival when many men around him in the prison camps wolfed down their food, developed digestive problems, and died. That same advice comes to my mind in reading Nancy Knowlton's wonderous book, "Citizens of the Sea: Wonderous creatures from the Census of Marine Life." The pictures are amazing, but the text is the real treat. And it needs to be consumed slowly, savoring every fascinating morsel.

Superficially, it looks like another pretty coffee table book of sea creatures that sits on your coffee table for a while as visitors occasionally flip through the photos. But when you take the time to sit down and digest the text, you realize the greatest strength of the book is the writing that supports the stunning photos. Dr. Knowlton (who is a long time friend) has dug up soooo many tidbits in support of the images that it almost reads like a trivia book. Everything from the fact that there are waaaay more bacteria in the ocean than stars in the sky, to defensive "rosettes" of spiny lobsters and whales, to the awesome Bob Marley Worm -- the book is packed with memorable details.

I once went to a diving trade show where they had slide show presentations from sport divers. One after another they got up and showed amazing underwater photos of fish and corals they had taken. The only problem was they had no idea of what was in the photos. So the audience -- hundreds of people -- just sat there in dead silence, cooing over the images, but having no clue of what they were seeing. This book is the opposite of that. For each photo, not only is your question of, "What's that?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a truly beautiful book. The writing is wonderful -- even my six year old has chosen it as his favorite book. It makes a great gift for anyone from 6 to 100. One of the best books I have bought.I plan to give it to friends,teachers and colleagues this holiday season. Perfect!
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Format: Hardcover
I am a marine ecologist and National Geographic explorer who spends as much time diving and studying marine life as possible, and after 25 years of doing it I was still amazed by some of the stories that Nancy Knowlton wrote in her book 'Citizens of the sea.' Not only I learned new things, but I also had a ball reading it - the only book on marine life I could not put down! It is, in my opinion, the best, most fun and accessible book to learn about the life, love and death of marine creatures. If you think the photos are beautiful, read the text; it is the best part of the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As another reviewer mentioned, the mesmerizing photos of majestic and stranger-than-fiction creatures are the bait that draws you in, but it's the little gems of prose on each topic that really stuck with me -- even as a professional marine biologist I learned all kinds of fascinating stuff for the first time or saw it in a new light. More importantly, the book rekindles that sense of awe and inspiration from nature that makes every kid want to be a marine biologist at some point in life. In fact it reminds me so much of those that turned me on to ocean life when I was young that I ordered ten copies and gave them to all of my students and staff for Christmas (which is not hard to do at $17 each!). Personally I think the size is perfect -- this is not something you want to leave sitting on your coffee table.
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Format: Hardcover
I am very impressed with this book on many levels. The photography is superb, the layout is well done, and the text is deeply informed, fun to read, and full of cool and new facts about the oceans and its inhabitants. A rare example of a great marriage of science and entertainment. I think this is an ideal book for anyone interested in marine life, and a perfect gift to get someone interested.
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Format: Hardcover
A "Coffee Table Book" is thought of as a huge monstrosity that almost covers a coffee table and has to be moved if anyone even thinks of sitting down at the coffee table for a glass of wine (or cup of coffee!)
That's one good reason to have "Citizens of the Sea, The Wondrous Creatures from the Census of Marine Life" on hand in your living room, family room or wherever you entertain guests. While your hostess is getting things ready, you can breeze through the pages and actually learn something!
It is the difinitive book on the wierd, wonderful and wild animals of the sea, so many of which we know nothing about. And it is so easy to use.
This book also travels very well because of it's size.
It is a great hostess/holiday/birthday gift for ones who think they know what is under the blue water (which covers the majority of our blue planet)or for those who have heard that we know so little of what is "down there" and want to find out more.
Best of all is Nancy Knowlton's witty, fun, informative and experienced way of telling, in short form, about the "Methuselahs of the Deep" or the "Masters of Disguise".
The lay-out, color and variety of the photographs are engaging, sharp and plentiful.
If you've ever read to a 5 year old, 10 year old or 80 year old, or anywhere in between, you'll know that this is a book that will delight, engage and surprise any audience.
We should all have a copy just for our own edification.
Buy it now. Place it on your coffe table. You'll be glad you did!
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