From the Publisher
“Cousteau consecrated his life to teaching the world about marvels that are at once exotic to us and yet ordinary in the abyss of the ocean. Through his lyrical writings and his films that took your breath away, he placed the underwater world at the door of an audience as extensive as the oceans themselves. I always learned with him.” Al Gore
“As this rich new book reminds us, Cousteau was utterly trustworthy, a figure, like Rachel Carson, moved by no desire deeper than to appreciate the world around, to share that love, and thus to protect it. He was the quintessential explorer…Cousteau divided his career between two tasks, equally necessary: getting people to marvel at the beauty of the oceans, and then pointing out how we were destroying them. It was as if the earliest explorer of the North American continent was simultaneously cataloguing its vast buffalo herds and watching them die…No explorer has ever been faced with quite such a dilemma, and Cousteau handled it superbly.” Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy and The End of Nature, from the foreword
“….eloquent and at times almost poetical, especially in the eponymous final chapter. This worthwhile look back at the French scientist who taught us to love scuba diving and the ocean raises questions still highly relevant ten years later.” Library Journal
“Cousteau's reverence for life's miracles-embodied by the evolutionary wonders of the human, the orchid and the octopus-shines through in this eloquent testimony on the importance of pursuing higher ideals, particularly the preservation of the oceans and the natural world for future generations.” Publishers Weekly
Completed only a year before his 1997 death, Jacques Cousteau's The Human, The Orchid, and The Octopus stands as a final testament of his environmental beliefs. Like many of his other books, this work blends the best elements of an adventure story, a tutorial on the natural world, and a passionate manifesto on sustaining life on our planet. The book, never before available in the United States, has been released to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the great ocean explorer's death. His coauthor and frequent collaborator, Susan Schiefelbein, introduces the text and provides an update on more recent ecological developments. The capstone of a momentous environmental career.
The late Cousteau (1910-1997) is still offering remarkable tales of nature and the sea alongside coauthor Schiefelbein. Stephen Hoye delivers a solid reading complete with an astounding Cousteau impersonation that will have listeners questioning just who they are listening to during the introduction. Hoye transports the audience around the globe and under the sea, capturing the tense incidents throughout the tale in a believable manner. Though most of the tale is told from Schiefelbein's perspective, Hoye manages to capture the spirit of Cousteau without always resorting to the impersonation. His reading is underplayed and all the more realistic because of it. As Cousteau would have demanded, the conservation information included becomes the star of the show, and the story is a medium to spread the word about Mother Earth. A Bloomsbury hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 6, 2007). (Feb.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
It has been ten years since Cousteau's death, but there was one book still left in the pipeline. Originally published in French in 1997 as L'homme, la pieuvre et l'orchidée, and now available for the first time in English, this is a comprehensive presentation of the conservation and preservation philosophy that inspired Cousteau to become an activist for the oceans and the earth during his lifetime. Although not by any means a biography, the book contains numerous anecdotes and an extensive introduction by coauthor and longtime Cousteau collaborator Schiefelbein that is primarily biographical. The prose is eloquent and at times almost poetical, especially in the eponymous final chapter. This worthwhile look back at the French scientist who taught us to love scuba diving and the ocean raises questions still highly relevant ten years later. Recommended for all libraries at the high school level and above.
From Oscar-winning explorer-filmmaker Cousteau (1910-1997), a final bouquet for the planet he loved. The Frenchman who enthralled millions in more than 70 books (The Silent World, 2004, etc.) and the TV series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau makes an eloquent case for conserving our natural world in these 11 essays, completed before his death and published for the first time in the United States. Following a foreword by Bill McKibben, the collection opens with a meditation on the instinctive human drive to explore and then considers aspects of the need to protect "the last remaining unexplored expanse of earth-underwater," which first attracted the author as a young midshipman on a world tour in the 1930s. In each instance, Cousteau draws on experiences and observations from his career: He examines personal risk-taking, recalling the moment in 1952 (the underwater death of a young man diving from Cousteau's ship Calypso off Marseilles) when he learned to dare without danger by minimizing risks to crews; and the day at a 1959 conference of atomic scientists held in Monaco's Oceanographic Institute (where Cousteau was director) when he heard talk about using the sea as a radioactive waste dump that prompted his lifelong protests over nuclear issues. ("Stick to steering boats!" said his critics.) Elsewhere, he urges action against overfishing, unchecked coastal development and corner-cutting by commercial interests that results in threats to public health and the environment. The author proves a trusted, familiar and knowledgeable voice as he draws on explorations in the Amazon, Antarctica, the underwater caves of the Caribbean and elsewhere to express his concern for humankind'sfuture. "We are part of Earth," he declares in explaining why we must conserve. Long-time collaborator Schiefelbein provides a useful introduction as well as an update on facts and trends since the book's completion ten years ago. A treat for Cousteau fans and conservationists alike.