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Under the Sea-Wind (Penguin Classics) Paperback – April 3, 2007
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About the Author
Linda Lear (introducer) is an environmental historian and biographer and the author of the prize-winning study Rachel Carson: Witness for Nature and Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature.
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Top Customer Reviews
I deduct one star not because of the book itself, but because of this Penguin edition. I believe there is another edition of the book with illustrations by Bob Hines, I think those illustrations are fantastic. This book contains the illustrations by Howard Frech, the same as the first edition. These illustrations are fine, but there are very few of them (I am not sure if the Penguin edition even includes all of the original Frech works). The edition with Bob Hines' illustrations are infinitely more fun to read, why did Penguin not use those? Actually, why not use both??
Written in a present tense, moment by moment style that is engaging, the prose seems effortless. Carson is undoubtedly an expert when it comes to the flora and fauna of the kinds of outer banks islands along the Atlantic Coast of the United States, and most of the readers who have vacationed anywhere from New Jersey to Florida will recognize many of the species she depicts. The narrative style allows Carson to inform as well as entertain her readers, with many fascinating facts about the birds, fish and other wildlife.
I read this book while on one of the North Carolina islands, and found it fitting that the shore birds I enjoyed watching in flight or along the beach were portrayed in such detail. Yet, for me, there was a bit too much of "and the next moment, animal A ate animal B, and then at once, animal A was eaten by animal C". After the first three chapters of this sort of thing, I became a bit tired of the relentless repetition of the survival of the fittest approach Carson takes throughout the book.
"Under the Sea Wind" received very good reviews in its first edition, but it sold poorly. After Carson's "The Sea Around Us" (1951) succeeded, "Under the Sea-Wind" was republished and gained a larger readership.
Rachel Louise Carson was born near Springdale, Pennsylvania, on May 27, 1907 and lived until April 14, 1964. She was a marine biologist and nature writer, whose books were instrumental in advancing global environmental awareness. Her best known book is "Silent Spring".
As with both her other books, Ms Carson's intelligence and heart leave glittering wakes through this overview of mid-twentieth century research on the sea, particularly its animal life. This is such a juicy book. Each creature she gives us, from whale to worm, is treated with a personal glee that endears them to us. She makes small stories of each of their singular lives. I now care personally about annelid worms. Who knew?
Drawing back from the individual she then illuminates the ways in which each life is dependent on the whole, and the whole on each life. She writes like an angel about the world of the mundane; simply, in gorgeously structured, shiny prose and all the while informed by her own massive research. Her love for her subjects leads the way, and refreshes itself at every turn. Her sense of detail is immersive, and her sensibility of the marvel of forms is catching.
There is something other than her brilliance that struck me about the above three books. Because Rachel Carson was writing in the years just before the spread of environmentalism, they are touchingly non-political in tone; no warnings, no fretting. They were followed by her last book, the enormously influential 'Silent Spring', a warning text that documents the ways in which the sea was suffering from human activity. Her love for the sea and its shores, so beautifully written in her first three books, is transformed into political awareness and activism. It's a good and lovely thing to witness. This author died in 1964 so we only have four books to fall in love with. Shame.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm reading the trilogy and haven't finished this one yet ( am halfway through). This has to be read with a notebook on the side to see the images on Google. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Cassio Baptista
Glorious anthropormophic treatment of three sea creatures (a seabird, an eel -- no, it's not disgusting -- and a mackerel by the woman whose "Silent Spring" helped stop... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Thomas Ochiltree II
Reading Rachel Carson's first book, "Under the Sea Wind" (1941), is like reading poetry. Not so much a science book, even though the science therein is accurate, but more... Read morePublished 14 months ago by LastRanger
I bought this after Google's splash page led me to Ms Carson's Wikipedia page. A lively read, very old school, but fascinating and a pleasant read.Published 19 months ago by Susan Smith