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The Universe Below: Discovering the Secrets of the Deep Sea Library Binding – April 25, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1435266773 ISBN-10: 1435266773 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Paw Prints 2008-04-25; Reprint edition (April 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1435266773
  • ISBN-13: 978-1435266773
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,542,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Many people realize that the ocean covers some two-thirds of the earth's surface (the actual figure is 71 percent). But as William J. Broad points out in his entrancing The Universe Below, this hardly tells the story of the sea's dominance of our planet. The world's oceans are more than two miles deep on average and, contrary to long-held views, are richly populated with life all the way to the bottom. So, in fact, the sea probably makes up something like 97 percent of all inhabited space on Earth--we surface dwellers are almost an afterthought.

"This book is about the largest unexplored part of our planet, the deep sea," writes Broad in his prologue, "and how we are illuminating its dark recesses in a rush of discovery that is shattering old myths, rescuing lost treasures, and laying bare secrets of nature hidden since the beginning of geologic time." In seven chapters, each devoted to a different aspect of deep exploration and discovery, Broad weaves together scrupulous reporting and scientific explication (he has won two Pulitzers for his science writing for the New York Times) along with history and his own personal experiences, all told in vigorous, intelligent prose that often rises to a quiet poetry. The result is one of the most enthralling science books of the decade. --Nicholas H. Allison --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Library Journal

The deep sea is the last frontier whose secrets are just now being revealed. Broad, a Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer for the New York Times, offers an excellent personal overview of current explorations. As in his earlier works, technology is the focus, along with the personalities involved; most of the chapters are related to articles Broad has published in the Times since 1993. After a brief history of deep-sea exploration before 1900, the book is set firmly in the 20th century, concentrating on the ships, subs, divers, underwater vehicles both manned and robotic, and satellites used in a variety of applications, from discovering the Titanic to observing unusual or new marine species. As a readable introduction to deep-water oceanographic research and recovery techniques, this is recommended for public libraries.?Jean E. Crampon, Hancock Biology & Oceanography Lib., Univ. of California, Los Angeles
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

William J. Broad is a best-selling author and a senior writer at The New York Times. In more than thirty years as a science journalist, he has written hundreds of front-page articles and won every major journalistic award in print and film. His reporting shows unusual depth and breadth - everything from exploding stars and the secret life of marine mammals to the spread of nuclear arms and why the Titanic sank so fast. The Best American Science Writing, a yearly anthology, has twice featured his work.

He joined The Times in 1983 and before that worked in Washington for Science, the magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Broad has won two Pulitzer Prizes with Times colleagues, as well as an Emmy and a DuPont. He won the Pulitzers for coverage of the space shuttle Challenger disaster and the feasibility of antimissile arms. In 2002, he won the Emmy (PBS Nova) for a documentary that detailed the threat of germ terrorism. He was a Pulitzer finalist in 2005 for articles written with Times colleague David E. Sanger on nuclear proliferation. In 2007, he shared a DuPont Award (The Discovery Channel) from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism for the television documentary, "Nuclear Jihad: Can Terrorists Get the Bomb?"

Broad is the author or co-author of eight books, most recently The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards (Simon & Schuster, 2012), a New York Times bestseller. His books have been translated into dozens of languages. His other titles include Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War (Simon & Schuster, 2001), a number-one New York Times bestseller; The Universe Below: Discovering the Secrets of the Deep Sea (Simon & Schuster, 1997); Teller's War: The Top-Secret Story Behind the Star Wars Deception (Simon & Schuster, 1992); and Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science (Simon & Schuster, 1982).

Broad's reporting has taken him to Paris and Vienna, Brazil and Ecuador, Kiev and Kazakhstan. In December 1991, he was among the last Westerners to see the Soviet hammer and sickle flying over the Kremlin.

Broad's media appearances include Larry King Live, The Charlie Rose Show, The Discovery Channel, Nova, The History Channel, and National Public Radio. His speaking engagements have ranged from the U.S. Navy in Washington, to the Knickerbocker Club in New York, to the Monterey Aquarium in California. He has also given talks at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City.

Broad earned a masters degree in the History of Science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He has three adult children and lives with his wife in the New York metropolitan area.

Customer Reviews

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It is also poetically written.
Robert J. Crawford
The Universe Below will become an essential history book for anyone who wants to learn about the very human efforts to understand our oceanic surroundings.
Broad's account of those efforts is as thorough as available information allows.
Stephen A. Haines

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on September 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the story of how technology has opened a new frontier of science, much as van Leeuwenhoek did with the microscope. Broad reports on how the mysteries of the deepest oceans are opening up to our eyes with mini-supersubs, sonar devices, and robots. Much of this revolution is due, he says, to the end of the Cold War, which allowed us to put them to scientific rather than miltary purposes.

The world they discovered may harbor the most diverse forms of life on the planet, in environments hostile beyone imagination. Broad introduces us to an incredible gallery of exotic creatures, from hypothermophiles - bacteria that live in lava-heated water of 400 degrees F - to countless species of squid and manowars. Braod also accompanies treasure hunters as they explore for ancient artifacts and rare minerals.

THe book is part history, part primer in technology, and part environmental tract, and the skill with which Broad combines these concerns whows why he won the Pulitzer twice. It is also poetically written.

Highest recommendation. This book can ignite the imagination for a lifetime.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gordon I. Peterson on March 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
The Last Great Wilderness
THE UNIVERSE BELOW: Discovering the Secrets of the Deep Sea. Reviewed by Capt. Gordon I. Peterson, USN (Ret.),Senior Editor, Sea Power Magazine
The International Year of the Ocean (YOTO) in 1998 sought to publicize the critical role the oceans play in shaping the life of the planet. William J. Broad, a science reporter for The New York Times since 1983, has made a masterful contribution to that goal in his fifth book, The Universe Below, a fascinating chronicle of the ongoing rush of discovery aimed at learning more about the largest unexplored part of the planet: the deep sea-which, in Broad's view, represents the world's "last great wilderness."
Broad's work, the product of more than a decade of journalistic research, interviews, and firsthand experience, offers a gripping account of past, present and future efforts to unlock the secrets of the oceanic depths lying beyond the shallow borders of the world's continental land masses. These deep oceans encompass roughly 65 percent of the earth's surface; devoid of sunlight, they are estimated to occupy 97 percent of the space inhabited by Earth's living things.
More than 500 years have elapsed since the beginning of the Age of Discovery's epic voyages of exploration. But, Broad asserts, "The truth is that our planet has managed to remain largely unexplored, until now." Contrary to the popular and scientific misconceptions of past centuries, the waters and seabeds of the deep are teeming with life. Broad, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, reveals how this strange and remote undersea environment is only now beginning to be understood as its secrets are slowly discovered and deciphered.
Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. A Michaud on July 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In this wide-ranging volume, New York Times science writer Broad shows us different dimensions of the deep sea. He covers scientific exploration of deep sea life and hydrothermal vents, military activities including intelligence gathering and the search for a lost H-bomb, mineral exploration, and treasure-seeking. While none of his chapters offer comprehensive coverage, they do whet the appetite. Broad's writing style is lively and sometimes personal. The illustrations by Dmitry Schidlovsky may be artistically interesting, but photographs and maps would have been more useful.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tim F. Martin on February 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
Anyone fascinated by the deep sea, both open ocean and the seafloor itself, should purchase this fine work. Thorough in its coverage, it speaks of issues relating to the biology and geology of the deep sea, replete with dragon fish, angler fish, hydrothermal vents, weird worms, crinoids, and all manner of seemingly alien life forms. Read about the search for "living fossils" and relics of bygone ages, as well as the quest for that enigmatic monster, the giant squid. Several black and white illustrations help bring these organisms to life.
The book also covers the human history with relation to the deep sea as well, chronicling the exploration of the deep and man's views of it, from the days of ancient history through Jules Verne through Cold War intrigue. The history of many famous deep sea submarines and exploration vehicles are provided, as well as the men and often politics behind them. Not all uses of the deep sea have been peaceful, as illustrated by coverage of US-Soviet interactions during the last 50 years, well covered in this book.
I recommend this book, as not only it is a great nature and science book but also a history book, a rare thing. It is very readable and has kept up the last few nights.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Colin Bartol on March 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
When I think of the deep I think visually of the animals down there. This book has very poor pictures of these creatures and thus should not be very good. But Broad does an excellent job of telling a story from beginning to end with each chapter being a self contained story of man's exploration into the deep. One chapter is on the research being done around Monterey CA, another about the history of deep sea mining, another on deep sea nuclear dumps, all of which are great stories. It is a little light on the biological but makes up for it in giving the reader an understanding of how we got to where we are today.
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