Beyond the Outer Shores: The Untold Odyssey of Ed Ricketts, the Pioneering Ecologist Who Inspired John Steinbeck and Joseph Campbell

Overview


In the 1930s, while the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression sent most of America into the doldrums, a lively intellectual and artistic community formed in the West, revolving around three legendary friends: Ed Ricketts, John Steinbeck, and Joseph Campbell. Steinbeck immortalized Monterey's bohemian spirit in Cannery Row, but the area's true lifeblood was his best friend and mentor, Ed Ricketts. Today Ed Ricketts is usually remembered as "Doc"—the beer-drinking philosopher-scientist who presided over Monterey's ...
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Overview


In the 1930s, while the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression sent most of America into the doldrums, a lively intellectual and artistic community formed in the West, revolving around three legendary friends: Ed Ricketts, John Steinbeck, and Joseph Campbell. Steinbeck immortalized Monterey's bohemian spirit in Cannery Row, but the area's true lifeblood was his best friend and mentor, Ed Ricketts. Today Ed Ricketts is usually remembered as "Doc"—the beer-drinking philosopher-scientist who presided over Monterey's population of "whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches" in Cannery Row—but Ricketts was actually a trailblazing ecologist who did seminal work in the emerging field on the Pacific Coast. His ideas were decades before their time, and his two books, Between Pacific Tides and Sea of Cortez (coauthored with Steinbeck), are still considered classics. Now, some sixty years after his untimely death, Ricketts' ecological approach and ethic seem more relevant than ever.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
It's quite likely that even the most enthusiastic readers of Cannery Row don't know much about Ed Ricketts, the self-taught marine biologist depicted in John Steinbeck's novel as "Doc"-a beer-guzzling bohemian science-philosopher presiding genially over the coastal California town's seedy sardine-packing population of "whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches." Tamm's account of Ricketts's short life (he died in 1948, at age 51, killed while crossing train tracks) is an engrossing memoir. Freelance writer Tamm smartly weaves in-depth literary analysis of Steinbeck's fiction into his narrative, though writing relatively little about mythologist Joseph Campbell's spiritual explorations. But the links drawn among the three friends (though Steinbeck and Campbell soon had a lifelong falling out around marital infidelity) provide a fascinating insight into how art, science and philosophy can nurture, inspire and feed off one another. Tamm writes with impassioned honesty about his subject's many dimensions. Ricketts was a beach bum, philanderer and party-hearty hedonist, but he was also an intuitive ecologist, whose early warnings about sardine over-fishing along the California and Alaskan coasts in the 1930s proved prescient; an environmental visionary, whose dire observations about the impact of industrial effluvia on shoreline habitats in the 1940s went unheeded; and a true renaissance man, whose avant-garde fusion of life and science inspired the lives he touched. Agent, Amy Rennert. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Readers may recognize Ed Ricketts as the author of Between Pacific Tides, the classic study of California coastal ecology, or as John Steinbeck's partner in The Log from the Sea of Cortez. Most likely, he first became known as the model for the character of Doc in Steinbeck's Cannery Row. However, as Tamm, a freelance writer who works for a conservation group based in Vancouver, B.C., tells us, he was much more-a multidimensional, pioneering coastal ecologist who warned of sardine over-fishing along the coasts of California and Alaska (he never graduated from college) and an intimate friend of both Steinbeck and mythologist Joseph Campbell. Ricketts's way of viewing the world very likely inspired much of Steinbeck's symbolism, and he actually wrote much of Sea of Cortez even though Steinbeck got the credit. Interest in Ricketts-who was hit by a train and died in 1948 at age 51-has been increasing in tandem with interest in the oceans and ecology. Renaissance Man of Cannery Row: The Life and Letters of Edward F. Ricketts, edited by Katharine A. Rodger, provides a solid look at Ricketts's life, but Tamm's well-written book examines Ricketts's mind and philosophy and also digs into his relationships with Steinbeck and Campbell. Highly recommended for all public and academic environmental and literature collections.-Margaret Rioux, MBL/WHOI Lib., Woods Hole, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560256892
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2005
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 427,202
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.06 (h) x 1.17 (d)

Table of Contents

Note on Specimen Drawings ix
Prologue xi
Chapter 1 Of Myths and Men 1
Chapter 2 The Trilogy 25
Chapter 3 Terra Incognita 55
Chapter 4 Clayoquot, Stubbs Island 71
Chapter 5 The Great Tide Pool 83
Chapter 6 Breaking Through 103
Chapter 7 Stories to Tell 123
Chapter 8 The Lab 139
Chapter 9 The Jesus Walk 157
Chapter 10 A Hero's Journey 177
Chapter 11 Galapagos of the North 199
Chapter 12 Farewell Party 223
Chapter 13 In Toto 235
Chapter 14 Death or Departure 261
Chapter 15 Laying the Ghost 277
Epilogue 307
Notes 317
Selected Bibliography 345
Acknowledgments 351
Index 357
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