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A sinking feeling

  • Jul 9, 2010
  • by
Julia Whitty has delivered a marvelous overview of the state of our oceans, a tale redolent of scientific knowledge and infused with poetry. The prospects are bleak. Taken altogether it is very difficult to imagine a happy outcome for either the Deep Blue Home she so lovingly describes or the big blue ball on which we live.

This is a story of species in radical decline, ocean chemistry undergoing catastrophic change, past excesses of organic despoliation and current extremes of toxic pollution. It might be well to post a sign above the cover sea turtle's head: Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter. The changes we have set in motion are clearly poised to fundamentally change the history of life on earth, perhaps even to end the current reign of higher life forms entirely.

I am constrained from giving Whitty's book my highest rating by two aspects of her telling. The author offers the taxonomic classification and current status (threatened, endangered, etc.) of each new species she mentions. While informative, it continually breaks the flow of her otherwise inspired style. The mass of information thus dumped on the reader is too much to easily assimilate in a meaningful way, and thus throws logs in the readerly road to no good effect.

Second, Whitty's effort to link her stories to mythology and various religious texts seems strained, interruptive and irrelevant to the profound observations she makes so cogently in her personal observations. While I can assume that those ancient stories hold deep relevance to her world view, they dilute rather than enhance my appreciation of her important work.

Notwithstanding those concerns, I highly recommend this book to anyone concerned about the parlous state of our planetary ecology or who'd like to know more about life beneath the seven seas. Well done.

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review by . June 21, 2010
Deep Blue Home is, at heart, a story of our interdependency with Earth's oceans. Julia Whitty has spent much of her life traveling around the globe, working with and observing the creatures that live on, in and around their "deep blue home".     Whitty tells some interesting stories and ties them in quite nicely with the current environmental issues, writing in a way that is very understandable and readable for those not of scientific bent. She does move around a lot, back and …
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Cecil Bothwell ()
Ranked #670
Writer, publisher, Asheville City Council member, builder, gardener.
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At the center ofDeep Blue Home--a penetrating exploration of the ocean as single vast current and of the creatures dependent on it--is Whitty's description of the three-dimensional ocean river, far more powerful than the Nile or the Amazon, encircling the globe. It's a watery force connected to the earth's climate control and so to the eventual fate of the human race.

Whitty's thirty-year career as a documentary filmmaker and diver has given her sustained access to the scientists dedicated to the study of an astonishing range of ocean life, from the physiology of "extremophile" life forms to the strategies of nesting seabirds to the ecology of "whale falls" (what happens upon the death of a behemoth).

No stranger to extreme adventure, Whitty travels the oceanside and underwater world from the Sea of Cortez to Newfoundland to Antarctica. In the Galapagos, in one of the book's most haunting encounters, she realizes: "I am about to learn the answer to my long-standing question about what would happen to a person in the water if a whale sounded directly alongside--would she, like a person afloat beside a sinking ship, be dragged under too?"

This book provides extraordinary armchair entree to gripping adventure, cutting-edge science, and an intimate understanding of our deep blue home.

A Q&A with Julia Whitty, Author of Deep Blue Home


Q: Where did Deep Blue Home come from?

A: I made ...

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Books, Biographies, Nature Books, Ecotourism, Environmental Science, Oceanography, Ocean Currents, Marine Ecology, Deep Sea Ecology


ISBN-10: 0618119817
ISBN-13: 978-0618119813
Author: Julia Whitty
Genre: Outdoors & Nature
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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