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The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean Hardcover – September 14, 2010


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The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks and Giants of the Ocean + Ghost Wave: The Discovery of Cortes Bank and the Biggest Wave on Earth
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 326 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1ST edition (September 14, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767928849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767928847
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (313 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #116,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Casey, O magazine editor-in-chief, travels across the world and into the past to confront the largest waves the oceans have to offer. This dangerous water includes rogue waves south of Africa, storm-born giants near Hawaii, and the biggest wave ever recorded, a 1,740 foot-high wall of wave (taller than one and a third Empire State Buildings) that blasted the Alaska coastline in 1958. Casey follows big-wave surfers in their often suicidal attempts to tackle monsters made of H2O, and also interviews scientists exploring the danger that global warning will bring us more and larger waves. Casey writes compellingly of the threat and beauty of the ocean at its most dangerous. We get vivid historical reconstructions and her firsthand account of being on a jet-ski watching surfers risk their lives. Casey also smoothly translates the science of her subject into engaging prose. This book will fascinate anyone who has even the slightest interest in the oceans that surround us.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Part science lesson and part adrenaline rush, The Wave is an intense thrill ride that manages to take a broad look at oversized, potentially devastating waves. The critics praised Casey's eloquent writing and jaw-droppingly vivid descriptions of chasing--or trying desperately to steer clear of--these aquatic behemoths. Although the Los Angeles Times craved more technical information, and the New York Times Book Review considered the combination of science and surfing a bit odd, most critics brushed such concerns aside. Casey's entertaining and enlightening exploration of the world's giant waves will leave readers with "a healthy respect for the power of these waves" (Los Angeles Times) and a chilling sense of how little we truly know about the oceans that surround us.

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Customer Reviews

If you enjoy reading about adventure I highly recommend this book.
Leslie
If that seems like too much hard work for you then by all means let this one pass.
Alan Dorfman
Susan Casey has done a superb job of researching and presenting this book.
Theresa Stefanick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

198 of 216 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Sabin VINE VOICE on September 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Susan Casey's THE WAVE features an introduction that would be right at home in a Tom Clancy thriller. Following the headline "57.5 (deg) N, 12.7 (deg) W, 175 MILES OFF THE COAST OF SCOTLAND... FEBRUARY 8, 2000," she launches into sixteen pages of prose describing a handful of shipping disasters.

Have you ever been on an ocean liner where half the passengers were turning green with nausea as the ship pitched and rolled in 25-foot swells? That's nothing. Dead calm by comparison.

Monster waves, the height of a ten-story office building (and taller) have taken ships --big, huge ships-- and pounded, pummeled, and overturned them, split them in half and buried them forever along with everyone aboard under thousands of tons of water, and it happens with a frequency that you can't begin to imagine.

I read those first pages, and by the time I got to Chapter one, I was electrified. This was going to be a page-turner of the first order.

Only it wasn't. As it turns out, Casey's THE WAVE is about 1/3 "The Discovery Channel" and 2/3rds "ESPN's Gnarliest, Awesomest, Surfin' of the Century."

Don't get me wrong. It's not that I have anything against people who surf. In fact, there was a fair amount of the surfing story that I found simply fascinating (and until reading this book, I knew NOTHING about.)

Case in point: Cortes Bank. This is an area in the Pacific Ocean about 115 miles off the coast of San Diego. As it happens, there is a submerged, underwater chain of islands there, and when the large Pacific swells --beefed up by storm fronts-- hit the shallow water... well, surf's up, dude, in a majorly-tasty way.
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159 of 194 people found the following review helpful By K. Swanson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First things first. The Wave was fun to read because Casey is a very solid writer. She knows how to put a sentence, paragraph, and tale together. Technically, her writing is near impeccable; it's a pleasure to read a galley proof and see almost no errors, compared to so many authors who apparently can't write ten words without needing spellcheck and an editor. So from that standpoint, this was one of the best advance copies I've seen of anything over the past few years.

I haven't read Casey's other book, about sharks, nor have I read her as editor of Oprah's O Magazine (I have trouble picking up a publication that has its owner on the cover every issue, who also named it after herself). After reading The Wave, I might just check out Casey's other writing, as she understands what good scribbling is all about. She always keeps things moving, rarely bogging down in arcane detail even when discussing the science of climatology, waves, etc, and has a fine eye for the telling fact. Perhaps too fine, but we'll get to that in a minute. What's best about The Wave is the overall scope; Casey links how the earth's weather is changing to how waves are growing, and there's no denying the stats: there is a clear correlation. She visits various scientists and marine salvage folks and shares their stories; they all agree that we're seeing the oceans get nuttier, and it's only just beginning.

Enter our hero! Laird "Larry" Hamilton, big wave rider extraordinaire. In this book he comes off as very humble, very brave, and very wise. You root for him at every turn on every wave and it's clear that Casey has quite a rapport with the guy. She always seems to be at his house, near the infamous Jaws/Pe'ahi, a Maui big wave break, chatting with Larry and Curly and Moe. Just kidding.
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Aaron C. Brown TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book mixes topics and styles in a way that makes the reader wonder if it is a tapestry of contrasts and relations, or if the author decided to clean out her desk of unsold magazine articles and shuffle them together into a book. The book begins with a Perfect Storm-like account of a oceanographic reserach cruise that makes you think you're going to hear tales of adventurous scientists, like a non-fiction Twister. Next we're in the world of globe-hopping big-wave surfers, like The Endless Summer on steriods.

If you stick to the waves, mixing oceanographers and surfers makes sense. But the author goes much deeper and starts sounding like a romance novelist:

"Though he was almost always smiling, there was a dark intensity to McNamara's presense. His hair was close-cropped and jet-black, his eyes were deeper than brown."

"He was a tallish, jovial Virginian, with a silver brush cut with a neat goatee. When he smiled, which was often, he revealed a set of perfect white teeth."

"Even the greenish fluorescent lighting in his office couldn't dampen his exuberant aura. His brown hair grew lavishly onto his face, happy curlicues of sideburn and mustache and beard."

Women's appearance gets much less attention, the last quote is followed by:

"Across from him sat his colleague, Dr. Christine Gommenginger, in a smart navy blue dress."

Okay, so it's a book about sexy men and the ocean. But then the author gets to science.
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