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Silent World (National Geographic Adventure Classics) Hardcover – July 1, 2004
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Jacques Cousteau himself died in 1997 at the age of 87, but the legacy of his pioneering work with diving and diving physiology lives on. It is all well documented and disseminated worldwide, thanks to this French explorer's unique combination of instinctive understanding of the world under the surface and his equally unique knack of spellbinding the world with his words and images. A total master of public relations and getting the word out, Cousteau managed to grab attention and media coverage wherever he went. Critics went so far as suggesting his media talents exceeded his actual contributions to understanding the seas.
At first it's hard to figure out why this slim volume became such a success. It's not a textbook, it doesn't cover the history of diving or even much of Cousteau's own research, and it's not an adventure book. Though Cousteau was French, he wrote The Silent World in English as he had attended American schools in his youth, widely traveled the US, and, of course, extensively lectured in his enchanting French-accented English. Yet, The Silent World clearly reveals its author's non-English origin and decidedly "non-English" thinking.Read more ›
The Silent World is easy and enjoyable to read. Most of the photographs are hard to see compared with the vast amount of underwater shots available today. However, when you consider the time period these photos were taken combined with the daring of these early pioneers, you can't help but be impressed.
This book produced an enjoyable influence on my life and I am sure it will on anyone willing to learn about the early history of underwater exploration.
All in all it is a good read for individuals interested in the history of exploration of new worlds by this sensitive innovative explorer. Not to be missed are the numerious accounts of early ship wreck exploration. My copy was published in 1953 and includes some of the earliest published color underwater shots. Highly recommended.
The reason I rated it 4 rather than 5 stars is his attitude towards marine life at that time was abominable. True, our view of sea life has changed and I'm judging him by a different standard, still this was a very intelligent man and it's clear he was aware of his cruelty. It's ironic that he feared the large creatures but in fact he and his team were the most dangerous beings in the ocean. He talks about using explosive harpoons, capturing sea mammals to use as displays and pets, trapping octopuses, and using dynamite on fish. Some of this was done for the purpose of making "interesting" underwater films. Of course the book was written over 60 years ago by a pioneer with a different mentality and societal attitudes than today, and I understand his behavior towards marine animals changed later in life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Scuba as conceived by Cousteau and his pals, such daring pioneers! I highly recommend this old book.Published 23 months ago by HereComeDeJudge
Classic Cousteau and a great book from the founders of modern SCUBA. A good book for the diver's library shelves.Published on April 29, 2014 by Devildocdon