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Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research Paperback – July 8, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

No writer is more quintessentially American than John Steinbeck. Born in 1902 in Salinas, California, Steinbeck attended Stanford University before working at a series of mostly blue-collar jobs and embarking on his literary career. Profoundly committed to social progress, he used his writing to raise issues of labor exploitation and the plight of the common man, penning some of the greatest American novels of the twentieth century and winning such prestigious awards as the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. He received the Nobel Prize in 1962, "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception." Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures.

Edward F. Ricketts co-authored several books, among them "Between Pacific Tides" (1939), now in its fifth, revised edition and still regarded as the definitive ecological handbook on the California littoral. Katharine A. Rodger is editor of "Renaissance Man of Cannery Row: The Life and Letters of Edward F. Ricketts" (2002). Susan F. Beegel, editor of "The Hemingway Review", coedited "Steinbeck and the Environment "(1997).
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 6.8.2009 edition (July 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143117211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143117216
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you intend to read Steinbeck's Sea of Cortez you can do it two ways. You can order this book, Sea of Cortez, and get the full benefit of Steinbeck and Rickett's exploration of the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez), or you can order the Log, which only contains Steinbeck's observations and color commentary, leaving out Rickett's technical information. If you are a fan of Steinbeck, the log is both entertaining and informative and pure Steinbeck in that he exhibits that meandering curiosity that began here (1941) but was still evident in Travels with Charley twenty years later. To get the full effect of the voyage, however, this is the book you want. This is non-fiction Steinbeck, so don't expect Mice and Men or Grapes of Wrath. Still, I read the whole Sea of Cortez more than two decades ago and had to come back and order both the Log and the entire Sea of Cortez, just to be sure I have it on my shelf again.
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Format: Hardcover
A marvelous insight into John Steinbeck and his mentor/pal, Ed Ricketts ("Doc" of Cannery Row fame.). Their obvious affection and respect for the other threads throughout the text. Contains wonderful lines such as," ...in six weeks in Baja, we collected about 3000 specimens of beer.", and of course there is the Hansen Sea Cow.
Their musings about a world going crazy (Hitler is on the rise in Europe during the time of the voyage) are superb.
The science and biology at the back of the volume is just the icing on a most delectable cake.
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This book is a narrative account of a 1930's marine life collecting voyage from Cabo San Lucas north, and includes both John Steinbeck's recollections and the marine biology appendices prepared by Ed Ricketts dscribing the marine life collected and preserved. The book is an excellent introduction to the east coast of the south baja peninsula, and is an helpful preparation for a current day cruise in the same locale. I was fortunate on such a cruise taken in January 2010 to have on board an interpreter who compared current day marine life in a given collecting area with that presented in this book. While some harbors, such as Cabo San Lucas, no longer support the specimens described in the book, many of the collecting sites still have a considerable diversity of marine life...and the bay north of Cabo supported the largest number of whale sightings of our week long trip. Once north of Cabo, population density decreases and the offshore islands - which are largely protected wildlife zones - provide a landscape very similiar to that seen in the 1930s. This book coupled with a cruise of this coast are a marvelous way to get a break from winter cold in the USA.
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I'd read most of his literature but this was my first non-fiction. This is the version Steinbeck originally co-wrote with Ed Ricketts (the basis for the character Doc in the books Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday) about their trip through the Gulf of California in 1940 to collect marine invertebrates. The book is a great little story of an adventure with lots of wisdom tucked into it. In addition to the narrative that makes up the later "Log from the Sea of Cortez" this original work includes more scientific information and pictures of some of the animals they collected (which is great because the first time I read Log from the Sea of Cortez I was on Wikipedia every few minutes checking to see what everything looked like).
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By JR on November 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's a lot of information to digest. There is a good mixture of John's philosophy on life, actual sea life, and life on a small boat with people that have quite different backgrounds. If you have enough in time in your LIFE to enjoy a classic that drifts in many directions, you can read it slow and reflect on a time gone by. Put yourself on that small ship.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
there is more of the real Steinbeck here than in any of his novels. And I agree. And his alter-ego, Ed Ricketts, is featured prominently. I took a Steinbeck course in high school, we traveled to Cannery Row as part of the class. I've cruised extensively in the Sea of Cortez. This is, by far, my favorite Steinbeck.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a broad adventure/science/philosophical musings on our times (the year I was born--1940!). I love this book. It's an easy one to keep on hand this second time as a pleasant interlude when I have a few moments to pause for reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very thorough travel journal with timeless reflections on human nature mixed with in each chapter. I say timeless because what Steinbeck wrote in the late 1930s and early 1940s seems to apply as much then as it does now. Though the descriptions can be a bit long sometimes, it was a eloquent travel journal – perhaps the best I've ever read.
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