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Song for the Blue Ocean: Encounters along the World's Coasts and beneath the Seas Hardcover – 31 Dec 1996

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 458 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company Inc; 1st edition (31 Dec. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805046712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805046717
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 16.5 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,269,816 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"Safina's Song is the Silent Spring for our time. The book is a page turner. But unlike the phantasmagorical novels of Michael Crichton or Peter Benchley, where a little science is thrown in to give the plot an aura of verisimilitude, Safina's book is all true and wilder and more frightening. . . . I loved this book." --Richard Ellis, "Los Angeles Times"
"[Safina's] bright new voice joins that influential chorus, which includes Rachel Carson and Jacques Cousteau, of scientists turned eloquent ocean advocates." --Harry E. Demarest, "San Francisco Chronicle"
"Engrossing and illuminating . . . passionate and enthralling narrative . . . [A] landmark book." --Thurston Clarke, "The New York Times Book Review"
"You will never think about fish-or the ocean-the same way again." --Sylvia Earle, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association
"If you love the ocean, read this book."" --Big Game Fishing Journal"


Safina's Song is the Silent Spring for our time. The book is a page turner. But unlike the phantasmagorical novels of Michael Crichton or Peter Benchley, where a little science is thrown in to give the plot an aura of verisimilitude, Safina's book is all true and wilder and more frightening. . . . I loved this book. "Richard Ellis, Los Angeles Times"

[Safina's] bright new voice joins that influential chorus, which includes Rachel Carson and Jacques Cousteau, of scientists turned eloquent ocean advocates. "Harry E. Demarest, San Francisco Chronicle"

Engrossing and illuminating . . . passionate and enthralling narrative . . . [A] landmark book. "Thurston Clarke, The New York Times Book Review"

You will never think about fish-or the ocean-the same way again. "Sylvia Earle, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association"

If you love the ocean, read this book. "Big Game Fishing Journal"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Author

Travel and true adventure through the world's oceans.
In Song for the Blue Ocean we go on a global journey through the world's changing seas, combining adventure, science, politics, and insights into the human condition. We accompany people whose lives in and on the oceans are a drama of clashing ambitions and a daily struggle for existence. We fish with commercial and subsistence fishers, we dive with research scientists, we walk through ancient forests where salmon spawn, and fly over vast clearcuts that have simultaneously taken the trees, the salmon streams, and the foreseeable future. We visit the shark fin shops in Hong Kong for a glimpse of what China's new-found capitalism means for oceans around the globe. We sleep alongside Islamic separatists who seek desperately to protect their coral reefs.

My empathy here is as much with people as wild nature, and I convey the dilemmas intertwining both. In the end, we find reason for hopefulness in a very unlikely place--a dangerous, heavily armed fishing village on a remote island near the Indonesian border.

Today's changing oceans pull together universal themes about resources, autonomy, economies, ideologies, and human nature that weave the context of our life and times. Although I believe this book is the most thorough and up-to-date account of the world's seas, it is in many ways about much more than the oceans.

Richard Ellis, author of Men and Whales, and Deep Atlantic, had this to say about my book: "I once thought about writing a book about the depletion and destruction of the oceans. Am I glad I didn't! Carl Safina has done what I could only dream about: he has written a plaintive, sensitive, caring, intelligent, indignant paean to his beloved waters and their threatened inhabitants. Safina takes us into the embattled world of the New England fisherman; to the salmon rivers of the American west, and to the once-pristine and lovely South Pacific reefs. This book will make you mad as hell; it will make you marvel at the wonders he describes (I love the way he writes about bluefin tuna!) and it will make you glad to realize that there is someone like Carl Safina who cares enough to devote his life to the preservation of the earth's most fragile and misunderstood ecosystems."

I hope you enjoy the experience of reading Song for the Blue Ocean.
--Carl Safina

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I cannot, absolutely cannot, stress of how much import this book is. Safina writes of politics, poverty, economics, history, technical minutiae, and biological science with the flair of a poet - combined with passages that will make you weep for their ability to communicate the visceral experience of what it's like beneath the water. It's not just a book about marine biology - it's an extended essay on the forces that have shaped civilization at the end of the millennium and its relation to the world at large. The hardest thing is to get across how compulsively readable it is - digressions into issues involving privitization of land and the beuracratical nightmare of listing a species as endangered are communicated so lucidly, cleverly, and with such humanity that the book never devloves into that category called boring that would cause most people to skip it. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I wish everyone in that region would read Safina's exhaustive overview of the destruction of the salmon fisheries. Only now, later in life, do I have a clear picture of what those headlines I saw as a kid even meant.
And somewhere within all this, you discover that not only is Safina an objective scientist, an environmentalist who cares for the well being of other humans and is actually concerned for the plight of those who make their living off the seas; he is also a gifted writer.
I kid you not. This is a book about marine science. It made me bawl like a baby. It is, despite it's complex issues, so innately human. And that's what makes it essential. Safina is no tree hugging environmentalist - he appraises it with a keen eye for its beauty and its terror but is also a firece guardian - of the system which allows us to live with it.
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Format: Hardcover
Safina weaves a masterful story of our oceans and the precarious relationship between sea and man. Unlike traditional "environmental" works, Safina tells the story of three disparate communities and their relationship to a dying sea. The use of language, the intriguing personal accounts actually EXPERIENCED by the author, and a deep understanding of the complexity of the sea are halmarks of this work.
The book is divided into three large sections covering the following regions: New England and bluefin tuna, the Pacific Northwest and salmon, and the southwest Pacific and aquarium fishes. Each section is self contained and focuses on the specific region targeted by the section. Safina, fortunately, does not attempt to create a mega tome describing all the ocean's problems. Rather, he focuses are three extremely well researched areas that, assumingly, typify the problems with the sea.
Safina has a unique talent for storytelling that conveys deep meanings and complex relationships. The need for such a simple, and yet complex, analysis is similar to the simple, and yet complex, issues that surround ocean depletion itself. That is, Safina is not a typical "environmentalist" with the "answers." He is a concerned person who tells the complex story of how a "simple" event like overfishing can occur in our "modern" world. The complex and interrelated dynamics of economy, politics, science, families, occupations, and age together lead to the "simple" problems that Safina describes. As becomes very evident in the book, one can only understand the problem, and then presumably take action, when one understands and accepts the complex dynamics that created the problem.
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Format: Hardcover
Combine an investigative reporter's sense of what's important, a scientist's scrupulous attention to accuracy, and the sensual, lyrical and compelling writing style of the very best nature writers and you have Carl Safina's Song for the Blue Ocean. Page after page, it tells us about magnificent creatures that most people know only as illustrations or the centerpieces of dinner plates but that Carl knows as living things. I've worked in marine conservation since 1978, but I learned a great deal from his book about the economics that are driving giant bluefin tunas to the abyss of extinction, the exquisite interplay between ancient trees and the salmon they nurture, and the dark truths that lie beneath bright coral seas. Carl not only gets it right; with his astute observations, self-deprecating humor and poetic descriptions, he helps the reader see into the truth in ways that open the minds of all but those who will not see. But don't believe me; I've been waiting for someone with the talent to write such a book about the sea for years. Rather, believe my wife, who gobbles Grishams but doesn't read nonfiction as a rule, yet who absolutely loves Song for the Blue Ocean. Yes, it is that good.
Elliott A. Norse, President, Marine Conservation Biology Institute
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Format: Hardcover
Safina takes the reader on what would appear to be the boring world of global fisheries practices, and weaves a riviting web of tales based on first person encounters about the unknown plight of our quickly vanishing resources. He uses his background as a scientist to base this poignant study on unequivocal fact, but never talks down to the reader. Song for the Blue Ocean reads like a Huck Finn adventure into the realm of the limitless ocean but we find out all too quickly that the sea's cornucopeia is being drained at a frightening rate. Safina shows how the one hundred million tons of marine produce harvested each year is being squandered for short-term gain, to the detriment of our immediate future. This book is on par with Rachael Carson's "Silent Spring" and is a clarion call to action for the proper utilization of our marine " tucker. " Few conservation books are written with such flair that make us regular folks want to care about something as nebulous as marine food fish. This one will not only make you care, it will blow your socks off! If you have ever sailed on the sea, gazed at it or eaten fish, you will find this book irresistible.
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