The Ocean of Life

the fate of man and the sea

The Ocean of Life (Hardcover, 2012, Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA))


English language

Published June 10, 2012 by Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA).


View on OpenLibrary

4 star (1 review)

Who can forget the sense of wonder with which they discovered as a child the creatures of the deep? In this vibrant hymn to the sea, one of the world's foremost conservation biologists, known as the "Rachel Carson of the fish world" (The New York Times), takes us back in time to tell the story of man and the sea, from the earliest traces of water on earth to the oceans as we know them today. If you spend time by the sea, you might have noticed that jellyfish are more common now, and fish are smaller and harder to find. But there's a lot more going on beneath the waves that you can't see. What Callum Roberts does in this powerful book is pull together all of the disparate strands of marine science to tell the story of the enormous transformation unfolding around us. The Ocean of Life considers …

Interesting (if terrifying) science, but flawed solutions

4 star

The first two-thirds or so of the book provide first a history of the seas and of humans fishing them, and then a rather scary description of all the ways we're destroying them. Of particular note is the way that different factors combine to produce worse outcomes than any single factor would; for example, dead zones are a function not only of agricultural run-off, but also upstream damming, ocean warming, and over-fishing. Even in this first part of the book, however, the author's inclination towards moderate 'solutions' is apparent, and the last third of the book is where things really come apart. Not only did the search for solutions seem a bit all over the place, compared with the well-structured description of the challenges the oceans face, but the proposed fixes seemed to me to be too half-hearted to make a real difference. At one point the author says "The …


  • Ocean and civilization
  • Ocean
  • History