Monsters of the Sea

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In Monsters of the Sea, Richard Ellis, one of the country's foremost authorities on ocean life, casts his net wide in search of the most unusual aquatic creatures—from mermaids to manatees to the Loch Ness monster and everything in between. Combined with his own black-and-white illustrations, Ellis also closely examines the literary sources of sea monster lore, from Homer's The Odyssey to the works of Jules Verne and Peter Benchley.

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Overview

In Monsters of the Sea, Richard Ellis, one of the country's foremost authorities on ocean life, casts his net wide in search of the most unusual aquatic creatures—from mermaids to manatees to the Loch Ness monster and everything in between. Combined with his own black-and-white illustrations, Ellis also closely examines the literary sources of sea monster lore, from Homer's The Odyssey to the works of Jules Verne and Peter Benchley.

Highly entertaining and packed with curiosities—including new information on a recently photographed twenty-five-foot-long giant squid and the newly named "mimic octopus"—Monsters of the Sea is a one-of-a-kind journey into two extremely fertile worlds: the human imagination and the deep blue sea.

One of this country's foremost authorities on ocean life casts his net wide in search of the most unusual aquatic animals, real and imagined. Highly entertaining, wonderfully skeptical, this inquisitive and provocative book is packed with scientific curiosities and fascinating details exploring two extremely fertile environments: the human imagination and the deep blue sea.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Highly recommended for all public libraries."—Library Journal
 

"Ellis's review of the subject is masterful, cleverly illustrated, and up-to-date."—Scientific American
 

"A delightful and learned adventure in cryptozoology (the study of hidden life forms)."—The New York Times
 

"Always striving for accuracy, Ellis has a healthy strain of skepticism and a marvelously wry sense of humor. These qualities shape this thoroughly enjoyable and extensively researched study of the evolution of sea monsters."—Booklist

 

"A comprehensive, fact-packed examination of the deep's largest denizens, tracing the patterns that connect mythology, biology, and the human imagination."—Kirkus Reviews
 
"An impressive compilation. It will satisfy readers from a wide spectrum, from lay people to researchers."—Nature

Library Journal - BookSmack!
Ellis sheds some light on the reality of sea monsters, adding a nice counterpoint for fans of Beck who are intrigued enough to wonder just what might be at the heart of the legends. Examining the leviathan and the kraken (among others), Ellis looks to art, literature, and film as well as history and science to unveil the truth behind the lore. Top-notch science intermingled with strong story elements makes Ellis's smart investigation pure fun to read. If the book hooks your readers, be sure to point them toward Ellis's expanded examination of the kraken, The Search for the Giant Squid: The Biology and Mythology of the World's Most Elusive Sea Creature. — Neal Wyatt, "RA Crossroads," Booksmack! 1/6/11
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Few creatures have captured the imaginations of so many for so long as have monsters of the deep. Their history has been surprisingly consistent, the author notes. Most began as myths and then acquired a sense of reality when the existence of creatures resembling those chronicled in legend was documented. Ellis Men and Whales gives a superb account of marine monsters and their attendant myths, sightings, scientific discovery and biology. He describes only the best known and the best documented. He traces the mermaid to the manatee and dugong, Leviathan to the sperm whale, kraken to the giant squid and polyp to the octopus sharks, however, remain sharks. He examines these monsters in art, literature and film, taking Jules Verne and Victor Hugo to task for their ignorance of biology, hysterical fantasy and unmitigated malice. Herman Melville, Arthur C. Clarke and Peter Benchley get better ratings. Of all the sighted monsters, only the giant squid Architeuthis retains its mythological and cryptozoological status, for its very existence is shrouded in mystery. Sharks have had a bad reputation throughout history, but until Jaws 1974 they did not figure prominently in literature. At the end of this engaging book, Ellis confesses to skepticism: ``monsters, if they exist, have more to fear from us than we do from them.'' Illustrations. Nov.
Library Journal
Ellis, recognized as the foremost painter of marine natural history subjects in America and the author of several books on ocean life, has taken an entertaining look at sea monsters. Here he provides a fascinating analysis of myths, early natural history texts, and other literature to resolve most of these tales in light of biological facts known today. He also includes accurate life history details about the sea animals covered. From the analyses and the biological facts, he describes the literary metamorphosis from monster to live, classified, utilized species. Passing through various stages, there is "first the unknown creature of the sea...undescribed and unnamed, fearsome because we don't know what it is. It then emerges from the mists of mythology and assumes a corporeality that enables man to identify and catagorize it. When that has been accomplished, we can then hunt it-for food, for sport, for glory." More subtly than in his Men and Whales (LJ 10/15/91) but with as much vigor, Ellis also discusses conservation issues as they relate to large marine species. Highly recommended for all public libraries.-Mary J. Nickum, Germantown, Md.
Booknews
An entertaining, scientific, and scary look at unusual aquatic creatures and their place in mythology and literature, looking at manatees and mermaids, the Loch Ness monster, giant squid, sea serpents, whales and sharks, and giant unidentified blobs that wash up on shore from time to time around the world. Sea-monster lore, from to is discussed, and true tales of horrifying encounters are presented. Includes b&w photos and historical illustrations. Originally published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. Ellis is author of many books on marine life. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592289677
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/1/2006
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Ellis is one of America’s most celebrated marine artists and writers. The author of Imagining Atlantis, The Search for the Giant Squid, Great White Shark, Men and Whales, Deep Atlantic, and Singing Whales and Flying Squid, he lives in New York City.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 31, 2011

    Simply the best

    This book have all do you need to know about the real and myth Sea Monsters. Excelents images and very interesting information!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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