In his latest research effort, Matsen (Titanic's Last Secrets) aims to produce a "respectful, honest remembrance" of beloved oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, with admirable results. An adventurer, inventor, explorer, environmentalist and filmmaker, Cousteau, along with his talented crew and family members, developed groundbreaking tools for diving and filming underwater. Matsen traces Cousteau's career and personal life from his 1911 birth throughout the twentieth century, as he pursued military and, later, civilian life, two marriages, attempting to answer questions about the individual beneath the public figure: "How could a man of such immense power have allowed his children... to turn against each other? Was he a tragic character hidden behind the veil of celebrity? Does he deserve our enduring love?" While he doesn't uncover all the answers, Matsen examines Cousteau with a sensitive eye, qualifying his astounding career and lasting legacy (just in time for 2009's anticipated restoration of Cousteau's vessel Calypso). Readers will learn the particulars of Cousteau-designed Aqua Lungs and wetsuits, as well as the underwater living experiment and nonprofit corporations that Cousteau founded, without neglecting the challenges of funding his adventures. Environmentalists, divers, and armchair ocean lovers will all soak up this work.
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“Matsen's book is eloquently crafted by a man who clearly understands and respects the wonders of the sea.” -- Winston-Salem Journal
“Absolutely do not miss this book. It is both entertaining and an important slice of history.”--Diver Magazine
“Cousteau owned one of the most recognizable faces on the planet. . . . Yet, as Matsen deftly demonstrates, we hardly knew him.” —Seattle Times
“There are a lot of Cousteau books – bits and pieces – and many are nonsense. This one is remarkably accurate.”--Jean-Michel Cousteau
“Cousteau's life was a cautionary tale, and Matsen tells it exceedingly well.”--San Francisco Chronicle
“Brad Matsen reminds us that Cousteau earned his fame honestly: He invented the modern understanding of the sea.”—Outside Magazine
“Matsen examines Cousteau with a sensitive eye, qualifying his astounding career and lasting legacy. . . . Environmentalists, divers, and armchair ocean lovers will all soak up this work.”—Publishers Weekly
“Goes beyond the sea. . . . fills us in on Cousteau’s work with the French Resistance during World War II. It also tells of family tragedy and drama.”—NY Post
“Readers who dive, who are interested in ecology or the oceans, or who simply recognize the name Cousteau, will want to read this full, well-rounded portrait of one of the world's greatest explorers and conservationists.”--Library Journal (Starred Review)
I grew up on Jaques Couseau, Wild Kingdom and all the rest of those iconic wildlife shows.
The Sea king was a great way to delve more into what made the iconic Cousteau... Read more
Ive been reading this wonderful book about one of my childhood heroes and surprised to learn that many children dont know about Jacque Cousteau. Read morePublished on October 30, 2012 by Daniella Chace
Jacques Cousteau: The Sea King, by Brad Matsen, is another book in a series I am reading on the founders of the modern environmental movement. Read morePublished on June 6, 2012 by R S Cobblestone
Fast reading and informative book about Jacques Costeau's 20th century inventions and discoveries. It is startling to learn that the undersea explorations and diving equipment... Read morePublished on July 1, 2011 by Indian Prairie Public Library
I was about to purchase this book until I read the reviews, several of which questioned the author's factual accuracy. Read morePublished on December 21, 2010 by Torgny
OK, so I've not yet finished reading this. But come on! The author gives an incorrect birth date for his subject. Really? Read morePublished on March 30, 2010 by B. J. Volpe
Jacques Cousteau: The Sea King provides a powerful biography of the seafaring naturalist, following his early days as a pilot in the French Navy until an accident forced him to... Read morePublished on February 21, 2010 by Midwest Book Review