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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh No!! Save our seas!
This book is written by the man who was the consultant to the BBC series Blue Planet. The book is on the whole really depressing if like me you love the sea - I am an avid scuba diver and this book left me feeling morose - the underwater paradise that I love so much is in even more danger than I feared!

I don't want to put anyone off reading this book because...
Published on 16 Aug. 2012 by FLB

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing subject, bit slow to read in parts
This is clearly very significant issues that are covered in this book, and by a very well qualified writer. The tone of the book leaves you in a slightly panic alert state of mind over the condition of our seas, and perhaps that is what the author wanted. So I would say it was an effective message the book portrays.
However, I did find the book a very difficult read...
Published on 24 Sept. 2012 by zenadox


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh No!! Save our seas!, 16 Aug. 2012
By 
FLB (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book is written by the man who was the consultant to the BBC series Blue Planet. The book is on the whole really depressing if like me you love the sea - I am an avid scuba diver and this book left me feeling morose - the underwater paradise that I love so much is in even more danger than I feared!

I don't want to put anyone off reading this book because I have said it is depressing, it is one of those catch 22 situations - we need to read it to understand what is happening, but in doing so the lovely state of ignorance many people bask in will be shattered. There is much we can do to save the seas as you will learn whilst reading the book - a really nice touch I thought was the author listing charitable organisations who work in marine preservation to encourage others to join them.

I hope a lot of people will read this book - we need to take action before it is too late. I would love this to be in my children's school library and covered in Geography lessons!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 27 Sept. 2012
By 
Beanie Luck (Cotswolds) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
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This book is aimed at the more serious reader i think.

It is very indepth, very detailed, there are no childish illustrations and the text is well written, well placed out and to be honest, really fascinating.

I sat down and read this and learnt so much about the ocean that i didnt realise existed. I also found certain chapters quite intriguing and me and my partner sat down and had some very interesting debates about some of the pieces written.

I think that this would make a brilliant present for any young person that is interested in science at school or is undertaking a science degree at college or university.

I found it thoroughly engaging.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are we going to hell in a rowing boat? It is not too late to change, 11 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
A very well written book about a very tough subject.

Roberts manages to convey the crisis of the oceans that is almost on us with sparkling clarity. He doesn't over complicate the subject, but writes with an urgency and a passion.

The chapters are quite gloomy when you consider how bad the seas are. He covers the amount of rubbish, in particular plastics that are in the sea, the steady acidification due to the water absorbing carbon dioxide relentlessly. He covers the scandalous trade in sharks fin, and the devastation that bottom trawling and by catch is having. Grim, very grim.

But in all the bad news, there is some hope. More nations are starting to set aside marine reserves, and he details how even a small reserve can have a massive change to a far wider area.

A must read for those interested in the state of the largest wilderness on the planet.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'There is a tide in the affairs of men...', 16 July 2012
By 
FictionFan (Kirkintilloch, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In this book, Callum Roberts sets out to argue the case that man is damaging the oceans of the world in ways that may be irreversible if not addressed quickly and determinedly.

Roberts starts with a history of the oceans since the planet was formed, showing how previous episodes of warming, changes in acidity levels etc. have had huge effects on the animals that live there. He then gives a very detailed account, (perhaps a little over-detailed in parts) of the history of man's interaction with the sea, through fishing, shipping and pollution amongst other things. As he piles detail on detail, his argument that we are causing major and probably irreversible damage is completely convincing and thoroughly depressing. Some of the images he provides, of mass piles of discarded plastic gathering in the ocean gyres, of dead zones caused by chemical pollution, of coral reefs bleaching and dying, of life at the bottom of the seas being destroyed by trawling, are stark and horrifying. Of course we knew all this, but Roberts pulls it all together for us and shows us the consequences, so that no-one reading this book could be left feeling that this is a problem that can continue to be ignored.

It is only in the last couple of chapters that Roberts offers solutions and not unsurprisingly these are fairly straightforward - to set up protection zones, to reduce the flow of chemicals and rubbish into the seas, to combat global warming. Straightforward but not easy, though Roberts also gives examples of some major advances that have been made over the last decade or so. (Who would have expected George Dubya to come out of a book like this as one of the heroes? Apparently he set up huge protected zones before he left office.) Roberts finishes the book by listing some of the many organisations working towards marine preservation and giving an idea of the approach each organisation is taking.

I did not find this an easy or enjoyable read. It was hard work in places as Roberts piled on more and more evidence to back his arguments, sometimes with greater detail than I felt necessary. However, the message of the book is a vitally important one and Roberts has succeeded in getting that message across. I would highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in environmental matters - and that should really be everyone, shouldn't it?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important book about the THREATS TO THE OCEANS, 5 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
This is an important book because of its message. Written by Callum Roberts, Professor of marine conservation at the University of York, it's a plea to take notice of the huge risks and damage to the oceans, to realise that threats to them are threats to our way of life ... and to do something about it.

Roberts starts by reminding us of "shifting baseline syndrome" - the fact each generation can be unaware it is witnessing an impoverished environment vis-a-vis the past. Roberts cites e.g., how the fish landed at Key West reduced in size during the 1950's-1980's, and how the catch landed from the North Sea has plummeted since 1890 in spite of huge technological advances.

Some of the analysis is complicated, but, briefly Roberts talks of the 5 horsemen of the on-going apocalypse i.e., climate change, pollution, overkill (by fishing), invasive species, and habitat loss. For example, climate change brings temperature changes at a speed species may have difficulty adjusting to ... and increased CO2 levels that acidify the ocean. Pollution results inter alia in enormous plankton blooms, huge areas of floating debris trapped in oceanic gyres, and e.g., plastics entering the food chain. Fishing is on a scale, using methods, which have devastated and continue to devastate fish stocks and the submarine web of life. I was stunned by the atrocious statistics the author gives of collateral damage from long line fishing for mahi-mahi (near Costa Rica); to capture 211 mahi-mahi cost the lives of 468 olive ridley turtles, 408 pelagic stingrays, 413 silky sharks, 47 devil rays, 24 thresher sharks, 22 blue marlin, 34 striped marlin, etc.,.

Callum Roberts says that though things will get worse for some years he is optimistic e.g., because man is flexible and inventive and because- in an environment where people are increasingly aware of the problems - Roberts has been pleased that it's proved possible to establish some marine reserves. For my money there are good grounds for being very worried. Perhaps it's true that global population will peak in mid-century, but the global economy is using more and more resources and climate change, acidification and pollution are not under control.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faultless, 5 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Ocean of Life is a book to treasure - I don`t think I can find a single fault with it.

The book is in part a natural history of the oceans, but is primarily a book about the human influences on the ocean in the past 200 years, and the state that the oceans are in as a result. As someone who has always loved the sea, but until@now has always seen it as mysterious and unknowable, reading Ocean of Life is both deeply troubling and deeply rewarding.

Undoubtedly this book is a call to action to manage human influences on the sea in a more sustainable way. There is something of a relentless feel to the middle portion of the book, with chapters on acidification, chemical pollution, noise pollution, sea-level rise, over-fishing, plastic accumulation amongst others leaving the reader saddened by the state that the ocean is in today.

But the wonderful thing about Ocean of Life is that the author never slips into campaign-mode, never distorts the facts,@never (seems to) selectively cite evidence to support one side of the argument. Instead, he dispassionately and fairly describes what he has seen over a lifetime of marine conservation, dealing fairly with the positives and the negatives. And just as wonderfully, he devotes a significant portion of the book to potential solutions to the challenges we face if we are to preserve the oceans in a fit state into the future.

A truly memorable read, and for anyone who has the slightest interest in the sea or the environment more generally, an invaluable one. I really can`t recommend this book more strongly. Read it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of my comfort zone but it's a must read and fascinating, 29 Aug. 2012
By 
JK "J. K." (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
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Isn't it depressing what we're doing to this planet and how mostly we don't really care. The ocean seems so big you can't believe it can be destroyed, polluted, ruined to the point when it will no longer support life and what then, where's the fish we rely on to feed so many people? The ocean is one of our most valuable natural assets, it's part of what we are never mind who we are, and if we're not really careful it's going to be so toxic we'll have lost everything we currently take for granted. I'm not a scientist, I'm the least scientific person I know, but I wanted to read this book because I've seen the build up of pollution at the coast and I wanted an idea of what was happening, what was causing it. Reading Ocean of Life hasn't cheered me up any but I feel strongly that it's a book any responsible adult should at least have a look at, it's got an important message for all of us. I expected some of the text would go over my head, be too scientific, it isn't; in fact it's mostly very accessible and easy to read though it does present a challenge. There's some fascinating facts in here, I had no idea just how much we interact with the sea and how out lifestyles affect it, fascinating stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sobering, engrossing reading, 20 Sept. 2012
By 
Mr. K. P. Rogers "rogers_kp" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
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What a sobering read this book is, about the threat to life in our oceans.

This is anstudynof the current state of life in the seas, and where they've come from (much more life) and where they might be going if current trends continue (lifeless). There's a human angle here, too: a lot of our food comes from the sea.

Callum Roberts helped out on the BBC series Blue Planet, and is a professor of marine conservation at York university.

It's all rather relentless: grim fact after grim fact about the state of the oceans. He grounds what he writes in science, which is very accessible, in case you're worried about that. There aren't many pictures: this is a text-based tome, and covers areas such as where the oceans originally came from, what life in the oceans is like - on the move! - the dangers of plastics in the ocean (a modern phenomenon). But there is some optimism: how we're attempting to clean up the oceans, and stories of success.

It's all fluently told, and is a great book as a gift or to anyone interested in marine life. Great for general reading. Highly recommended, especially for policy makers: this is educating stuff.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting and Informative, 27 Sept. 2012
By 
P Campbell (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A great hard-back book covering everything you need to know about the oceans. Not only does this book include what we know historically about the earth's oceans, it answers many questions about why things happen the way they do, such as currents and depths. More importantly Callum Roberts concentrates on the future of our oceans, which is a major concern with pollution and global warming. There are also colour photographs to accompany the text.

Over all this is an excellent book for anyone interested in oceans and especially for anyone studying oceanography or climate change etc.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Sea-change, 7 Sept. 2012
By 
D. Elliott (Ulverston, Cumbria) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ocean of Life (Hardcover)
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Author Callum Roberts is a professor of marine conservation and he has been recognized for his expertise as scientist and writer. His technical tome `Ocean of Life' is written in readily understood language, the narrative is agreeably developed, and illustrations are supportive, yet it is still difficult for an amateur to produce a pertinent review as it really needs to be judged by the author's peers. Also for non specialists there appears an overwhelmingly huge volume of data and detail presented all together, and the book is perhaps best used to pick at rather than read cover to cover. After a helpful introductory `Prologue' there follows a most interesting chapter on creation of planet Earth `Four and a Half Billion Years' with emphasis on oceans rather than usual limitation to land masses. Titles of chapters suggest subject matter and no doubt different readers will note their individual topics. For me a most disturbing chapter was `The Age of Plastic' confirming how there is 10 times as much plastic debris since 2000 as in the total time before. Possibly a most interesting chapter is `Winds and Currents' and a dramatic statement comes with `Less Fish in the Sea'. There is something for everyone.

`Ocean of Life' is a salutary text as it draws attention to an invidious situation yet beneficially reveals how we can learn from experience. It raises questions about what can be done to reduce pollution, limit global warming, safeguard habitats, restock fish levels etc. and it stresses these efforts must be continuous and coordinated rather than left as individual campaigns or one time efforts. Callum Roberts remains optimistic, and it is fair comment that he has not only taken great care to balance views and arguments but has also managed to achieve a balanced style between academic and anecdotal. There is little room for doubting the evidence presented that without action then disaster is the consequence of today's abuses, and in the last few chapters there are pleas for reversal of present trends of wildlife decline and environmental degradation.

`Appendices' indicate sources for further information, and extensive `Notes' demonstrate the high level of research undertaken, and there is a comprehensive index. `Ocean of Life' is the sort of scientific narrative that could have benefitted from a summary at the start of chapters to indicate what is to be dealt with, or at the end of chapters to encapsulate what is covered. Perhaps this could assist in reaching a wider readership that should include politicians as well as Vine reviewers!
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Ocean of Life
Ocean of Life by Callum Roberts (Hardcover - 31 May 2012)
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