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The Ocean at Home: An Illustrated History of the Aquarium Hardcover – July 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568985029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568985022
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #648,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


...Brunner does plenty to arouse interest and appreciation of this history in his well-paced and surprisingly pleasing book. -- Seattle Times, September 4, 2005

...fascinating and beautifully illustrated...The Ocean Home is a fun and educational read. -- E - The Environmental Magazine, Mar-Apr 2006

A charming book. -- PopMatters, June 22, 2005

A fascinating book...Among the author's observations are some forgotten or little-known facts. -- San Francisco Chronicle, Nov 12, 2005

A most attractively produced little book. -- International Zoo News, December 2005

An elegant nostalgic take on this most serene of hobbies. -- Style Manitoba Magazine, Autumn 2005

Can't afford that scuba-diving holiday? Console yourself by gazing at the aquariums in this charming, and charmingly illustrated book. -- The Globe and Mail, December 31, 2005

Chock-full of interesting stuff. -- PetFishTalk, September 21, 2005

Elegant. -- The New York Times, March 23, 2006

Fascinating. Engaging, well researched. -- San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 2005

About the Author

Bernd Brunner is a Berlin-based writer. A graduate of the Free University Berlin, he has written extensively for television and various print media.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Klein on May 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The Ocean at Home is a wonderful book that outlines the early history of the private and public aquariums. When I entered this hobby back in the mid 90's I had no idea that the origin of the aquarium had such a full history. The history of our hobby is one subject that seems to get overlooked in many of our aquatic publications to date. This book walks the reader thru the progression from keeping plants and snails in small jars to the appearance of the first public aquariums. In reading this book you become familiar with the 150+ years of development and discovery for the modern aquarium.

There are so many illustrations in the book nearly every page has at least one illustration on it helping depict the aquarium or equipment of the given era. With the aid of the illustrations the reader has to wonder what aquariums 100 or even 150 years ago would have looked like. How where they heated? How was the water filtered? What a wondrous site it must have been to the children and adults of the 19th century to be able to observe the creatures from the deep as the book describes.

I highly recommend this book to any aquarist that wishes to discover more about the origins of the modern aquarium as well as some of the early challenges that 19th century aquarists faced.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Darren on September 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The origin of the aquarium, what a topic! This informative, entertaining and sometimes poetic text tells the whole story and is a joy to read. How it was invented in England and how the idea traveled to Germany and to the United States. By the way, a handsome book in unusual size, profusely illustrated. Where the hell did the author find all these cute illustrations of aquariums and stuff related to it?
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Format: Hardcover
I think this book is best in its consideration of the Victorian era, in which this developed as an increasingly popular hobby. The focus tends towards the British, and the publisher is in the UK so that must be intentional. The illustrations are a real treat, and it's hard to explain why unless you view them.

The book is an entertaining light read that does shed real light on the origins of a still popular hobby. Food, fish, equipment. Overall it doesn't hold particularly well together. The topic is fascinating, but this book does not live up title.
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More About the Author

Bernd Brunner is a writer living in Istanbul and Berlin. He is the author of "Bears", "Moon", "Inventing the Christmas tree" (all Yale University Press), "The Ocean at Home" (Reaktion Books), and "The Art of Lying Down" (Melville). His writing has appeared in Lapham's Quarterly, The Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal Speakeasy, Houghton Mifflin's "Best American Travel Writing", The Smart Set, Cabinet, and German publications such as Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Welt, Natur, Mare and Zeit Geschichte. Some of his books have been translated into Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, French, Russian, Romanian, Estonian, Norwegian, and Turkish.

Elizabeth Gilbert on his work: "Written in such a strange and dreamy voice that it felt to me like an Italo Calvino short story, curiously translated from some lost, obscure language."

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