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on November 1, 2010
Although I have heard about the tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, I was never aware of all the details and the effort going on the predict and warn of future events. Just the shear number of earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. that occur without us knowing about them is amazing. All the cases described in this book about tides, waves, etc. show how important the sea has been throughout history. If you have ever had any interest in history and/or the sea, read this book.
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on December 1, 2010
Purchased this book after being sorely disappointed from reading "The Wave" by Susan Casey. And there I found what I really wanted: a whole up-to-date exposition of the knowledge as to how different types of waves in the ocean come to being and their impact on life on earth including their sometimes terrifying consequences on human societies. No breathless prose about extreme surfers, an extremely tiny group (although I would like to see a video of them doing it and talking about their experiences anyway), but, along the science, vivid description of the the aftermath on people...
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on December 18, 2010
This popular-style science book is praiseworthy and worth its low cost. As a practising geoscience engineer, I was especially pleased with the book's huge End-Notes section, where topics that fascinated me in the author's main text can be substantiated and further investigated by access to the references. (Too many popular books become unreliable technical resources because they lack Bibliographies or Citations sections.) The author has a nack for a writing style that popularizes science and its jargon in a manner that is entirely informative and I hope he writes more such books on his favorite topics. He's an authentic scientist, not some ordinary, money-grubbing "journalist" turned "authority" in search of public recognition and future book-penning contracts. The illustrations, maps are to the point and there was just one typographical error (a date) that I noticed. This book will interest many people!
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on January 6, 2011
It has often been said that the sea holds many mysteries, particularly in the way that it behaves. An insufficient knowledge of this occasionally-violent behaviour may lead to vast destruction and death to the unwary. The author, a "world-recognized physical oceanographer", takes the reader on a fascinating journey across time and (earthly) space as he explores the sea's many peculiarities and its awesome power. He discusses many of the disasters that have occurred throughout history that were caused by storm surges, rogue waves, tsunamis and other maritime phenomena - some of which have eluded explanation for millennia. He even discusses the many types of tides, their causes and their hazards. The book contains a few photographs, a couple of maps and several etchings. In my opinion, the book's only (minor) shortcoming is its lack of explanatory diagrams illustrating the mechanics of some of the phenomena discussed; in particular, such diagrams would have been quite useful in the chapters on tides.

The writing style is clear, authoritative, highly accessible and quite captivating. This book should be of interest to both science and history buffs as well as to anyone who is intrigued by the power of the sea and some of its effects on humanity over time.
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on January 10, 2013
Like another reviewer before me I turned to this book after Susan Casey's "The Wave" disappointed me with it's lack of discussion on the scientific understanding of waves. While this book was informative and I did certainly enjoy it, know that it is really only focused on exactly what the title says "...Tsunamis, Storm Surges, Rogue Waves, and Our Quest to Predict Disasters". If this is is the only information you want then this is the book to turn to. However, as a surfer I was actually hoping to get more of a discussion on the physics of waves and how they work. This book merely touches on it enough so that you can understand some basic principles of waves in order to understand tsunamis and rogue waves. It did go a little too far into the basics of tides for me, but if you are unfamiliar with the topic I'm sure that it would prove interesting...if not, skim the first few chapters or so. All in all, it's exactly what the title states.
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on February 15, 2014
Although the book is a good technical treatment of tsunamis and storm surges, it didn’t meet my expectations for insights as to understanding rogue waves. It is loaded with details of the human suffering due to historic disasters from storm surges and tsunamis from the 17th century to Fukushima (March 2011). The book is technically detailed and repetitious to the point of boredom.
Recommended to those with an interest in historical natural disasters or ocean surface hydrodynamics.
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on December 10, 2010
As a landlocked landlubber fascinated with the Sea I found Dr. Parker's book to be incredibly interesting, informative, and engaging. He presents some very interesting but complicated data in an easy to read format and backs his narrative up with a well-documented set of notes that adds to the technical and historical content of the book. It is time well spent in both reading enjoyment as well as an excellent learning experience.
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on March 3, 2013
This is one of three texts I have read on oceanography to which I unhesitatingly grant five stars !!
The authors of all three are gifted with the ability to present scientific info at a "readable" level.
(That makes them good "teachers".)
As with "The Gulf Stream", I found this book an astounding & exciting explanation of formerly
poorly understood, mysterious workings & wonders of our seas.
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on May 5, 2016
This book describes the science behind various oceanic storms, along with providing numerous historical examples of each. The scientific processes that contribute to said storms are touched upon, along with a plethora of historical stories depicting the true power of the ocean. Parker’s goal is to educate people about the origins of oceanic events and methods of ocean prediction. All the while, telling a story of how enhanced prediction models could have minimized damages caused by previous storms.

Parker talks about a wide range of basic scientific information relevant to the creating of natural oceanic processes, or to processes of interacting systems which cause the massive storms. The most heavily covered topic in the book is the natural disaster that occurred in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004. The earthquake caused a massive displacement of water which hit land before news of the wave's existence reached the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Personally, I think that someone will need to be very interested in the topic to enjoy this book. Despite the stories, it is still fairly dense, and not extremely informative. While you may learn a few things from the book, the science is not detailed enough for anyone to gain a thorough understanding of what causes these storms. While I am fairly critical of Parker for not providing what I think of as a sufficient learning experience, I would be remiss, however, if I did not take the time to applaud the expertise of Bruce Parker. The notes and citations section at the end of the book span over 50 pages for a reason. Parker clearly researched the topic heavily, and used a lot of stories to depict the unpredictability and power of the ocean.
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on August 17, 2015
Parker's expertise and research makes this excellent narrative a gem. He makes a most commendable and expert attempt to bridge the gap between science and popular treatments. The sea is a beautiful and harsh mistress and it would be a shame to minimize or trivialize either of these powerful aspects of the romance of the sea. My background includes some years work on nuclear submarines as a field engineer, so thank you, Bruce, for this most important and much appreciated effort.
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