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The Enchanted Braid: Coming to Terms with Nature on the Coral Reef Hardcover – April 13, 1998

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471177272 ISBN-10: 047117727X Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In this work of scientific journalism, Osha Gray Davidson surveys the condition of the world's great coral-reef systems, which offer habitat to countless diverse species of marine life. Many of those systems are now threatened by development--some, ironically, by the construction of resorts for the ecotourism market. Others have been destroyed by the fishing industry's use of dynamite and cyanide to bring in catches. Some 10 percent of the world's reefs, we learn in Davidson's pages, are already damaged beyond recovery, and another 30 percent are in grave danger of joining them. Combining firsthand travel narrative with abundant documentary research, Davidson makes a good case for the importance of conserving the reefs that remain. --Gregory McNamee

From Publishers Weekly

"Coral reefs are the proving ground for mankind's ability to 'come to terms with nature'Aincluding our own," writes Davidson (The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South), who has lived in Key West and studied coral reefs (both above and under water) for years. Davidson traveled and dove around the world to do his research. His book includes many striking facts: oceans cover 71% of the earth's surface; coral reefs are home to approximately one-quarter of all marine species; the most widely cited estimate of square miles around the world covered by coral reefs is 240,000; Charles Darwin's first scientific book was The Structure and Distribution of Coral Reefs (1842). And one of Davidson's most captivating chapters outlines the bizarre sex lives of fish. Despite reefs' grandeur, we humans have destroyed them at alarming rates, Davidson explains, as we have destroyed much of nature. His imaginative language (for example, "Coral reefs are the Russian novels of the sea world") and treatment of scientific terminology are impressive throughout. Davidson believes that "if we are to save the reefs, we must understand them better. But here we have come full circle, we have returned to our initial question. How do you comprehend something as complex as the coral reef?" Davidson's thorough book, which helps to do just that, will appeal primarily to environmentalists and divers but should be read by travelers to ocean settings as well. Eight pages of color photos, not seen by PW.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 13, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047117727X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471177272
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Osha Gray Davidson is a senior reporter for Hashtag30.org. He's a regular contributor to Rolling Stone magazine and his work has appeared in Discover magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Spectator, Grist, Mother Jones, The Nation, The New Republic, Salon.com, The Washington Post, Woman's Day, and Popular Science. He ran the popular Forbes.com blog, Edison 2.0, about innovations in renewable energy. He is the author of five books of non-fiction, covering topics from sea turtles (Fire in the Turtle House) to the National Rifle Association (Under Fire) to the nexus of race and class in America (The Best of Enemies). He also co-wrote the screenplay for the IMAX documentary Coral Reef Adventure.

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have read hundreds of articles and books about coral reefs, "The Enchanted Braid" offers one of the best introductions you could ask for into the world of coral reefs. The book features both biological and historical descriptions of coral reefs as well as reporting on what is happening today to coral reefs around the world. It is clear, well written and easy for us "non-scientists" to understand. SCUBA divers, snorkelers and anyone else who loves the ocean should read this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. R. Gouldman (gouldmanjr@oki10.med.navy.mil) on July 21, 1998
Format: Hardcover
A book well written and researched for the layman. The Enchanted Braid describes the addiction to the sea that many sport diving enthusiast experience. It provides a global perspective of the mysterious plight of our coral reefs. I read the book while in Bali, Indonesia. The well travelled author's feelings about the plight of the reefs is true to form from my perspective. The message is one we all should read and heed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Aussiemama67 on November 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even if you have no prior knowledge about reefs, this book explains and makes sense of the entire reef ecosystem. I would highly reccommend it, especially for teenagers with an interest in coral reefs and thier preservation, to spark thier interest in environmental issues.
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