The Ocean of Life by Callum Roberts

88%

11 Critic Reviews

In Ocean of Life, Roberts tells a wonder-filled story of humankind and the sea: all of it illuminating, not all of it hopeless, and some of it unexpectedly exhilarating.
-Guardian

Synopsis

A Silent Spring for oceans, written by "the Rachel Carson of the fish world" (The New York Times)

Who can forget the sense of wonder with which they discovered the creatures of the deep? In this vibrant hymn to the sea, Callum Roberts—one of the world’s foremost conservation biologists—leads readers on a fascinating tour of mankind’s relationship to the sea, from the earliest traces of water on earth to the oceans as we know them today. In the process, Roberts looks at how the taming of the oceans has shaped human civilization and affected marine life.

We have always been fish eaters, from the dawn of civilization, but in the last twenty years we have transformed the oceans beyond recognition. Putting our exploitation of the seas into historical context, Roberts offers a devastating account of the impact of modern fishing techniques, pollution, and climate change, and reveals what it would take to steer the right course while there is still time. Like Four Fish and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, The Ocean of Life takes a long view to tell a story in which each one of us has a role to play.

 

About Callum Roberts

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Callum Roberts is professor of marine conservation at the University of York. For the last 10 years he has campaigned for stronger protection for the sea at national and international levels, including advising the United Nations, European Commission and the European Parliament. He was on the WWF-US National Council for six years and currently serves as a Council Member of Fauna and Flora International, a Board Member of Seaweb and a WWF-UK Ambassador. Callum's first book The Unnatural History of the Sea won the Rachel Carson Environment Book Prize, and was named by The Washington Post as one of the Best 10 Books of the Year.
 
Published May 24, 2012 by Penguin Books. 432 pages
Genres: Other, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Ocean of Life
All: 11 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
Apr 15 2012

Roberts maintains his optimism while looking at the problems that have been compounded by global warming, pollution, the destruction of marshlands, etc

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Tim Radford on Nov 18 2013

In Ocean of Life, Roberts tells a wonder-filled story of humankind and the sea: all of it illuminating, not all of it hopeless, and some of it unexpectedly exhilarating.

Read Full Review of The Ocean of Life | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Leo Hickman on Jun 07 2012

Roberts is that precious pearl: a practising scientist who not only knows his field inside out, but also understands how to write compelling, persuasive non-fiction

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WSJ online

Excellent
Reviewed by G. BRUCE KNECHT

"Ocean of Life" is an excellent and engrossing work. Mr. Roberts, a British professor of marine conservation, has corralled an astonishing collection of scientific discovery, and he conveys it with non-textbook readability.

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Financial Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Pilita Clark on May 19 2012

In the hands of a less entertaining writer, this could have been a tedious tract

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The Independent

Below average
Reviewed by Peter Forbes on Jun 16 2012

Confronted by this barrage of negative data, the reader could be forgiven at times for wanting to stick to dry land.

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The Telegraph

Excellent
Reviewed by Philip Hoare on Jun 12 2012

Roberts is determined to end his book on a positive note, providing positive solutions. Those problems are so disparate – and yet, ironically, so interlinked – that the reader is left with an overwhelming impression of oceanic apocalypse

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Denver Post

Excellent
Reviewed by Mark Kurlansky on Jul 08 2012

Although "The Ocean of Life" stumbles on the matter of fishing, there are many other issues it explores with insight and clarity, such as the impacts from climate change, chemical pollution, noise pollution and the globalization of ocean traffic.

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City Of Tongues

Excellent
Reviewed by James Bradley on Aug 11 2012

That Ocean of Life doesn’t prove as depressing as it might is partly down to Roberts’ sheer enthusiasm: even when confronted with the destruction of entire ecosystems he remains curiously upbeat.

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Rick Librarian

Good
Reviewed by Rick on Jun 18 2012

While Roberts excels at describing what has brought about our ocean of troubles, he is not a pessimist.

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Isle Of Arran Coast

Good

His inisghts, condensed often from first-hand research and case-studies from all over the world, reveal the adaptive potential and strength of human ingenuity.

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Reader Rating for The Ocean of Life
88%

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