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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean

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The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean Cover

ISBN13: 9780767928847
ISBN10: 0767928849
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Staff Pick

It has long been asserted that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do the vast seascapes that cover some 70 percent of our planet. Susan Casey's seductive book, The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean, goes a long way to support this claim. As Casey, award-winning journalist and editor-in-chief of O magazine, traverses the globe in search of the world's mightiest waves, we are introduced to a fascinating cast of characters, including some of the most renowned big-wave surfers, as well as scientists on the forefront of these little-understood phenomena.

Although sailors and seafarers have for centuries claimed encounters with giant hundred-foot waves, they have often been rejected as tall tales and exaggerations. It turns out, however, that not only are such waves more common than anyone could have ever imagined, they are also occurring with increasing frequency.

Much of The Wave centers upon the famed exploits of big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, with Casey following him around the world in his pursuit of ever more legendary waves (his home turf is the exalted jaws break, Pe'ahi, off the coast of Maui). Throughout the book Casey strives to portray Hamilton and his colleagues as more than mere thrill-seekers, and succeeds in depicting them as humble, graceful individuals who happen to be (after decades of conquest) the best at what they do. Most of the big-wave surfers Casey encounters throughout her travels (especially Hamilton, Dave Kalama, and crew) espouse the glory of surfing for personal (and often spiritual) reward, and roundly reject the commercialization of sponsored surf tournaments and the like. While they may be rightly called legends and pioneers in their respective sport, at no point does this fact seem to inflate their egos.

Other portions of The Wave delve into the historical record, with a particularly unbelievable chapter on the July 1958 megatsunami that struck Lituya Bay, Alaska. Following a 7.9-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing avalanche of ice and rock, a mindboggling 1,720-foot wave devastated the bay and killed two (though it spared a survivor whose first-hand account of the incident is utterly chilling).

The most unsettling parts of the book (if, indeed, anything is scarier than a 170-story wave) deal with climate change and the ever-evolving models of climate science. As the planet warms, ice caps melt, and sea levels rise, most scientists anticipate an increase in oceanic volatility. Earthquakes and tsunamis are expected to become more common, and, thus, also their calamitous effects. While some big-wave surfers may be looking forward to larger waves and gnarlier breaks, the predicted effects on low-lying, densely inhabited coastal areas seem rather foreboding.

The Wave is far from a comprehensive work on the subject, yet it is an eminently readable and fascinating look into a compelling and perplexing realm. Susan Casey's book will arouse even the most stifled and landlocked of imaginations. As they have for millennia past, the sea's mysteries shall continue to inspire, tempt, beckon, and enthrall us forevermore.
Recommended by Jeremy, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From Susan Casey, bestselling author of The Devil's Teeth, an astonishing book about colossal,  ship-swallowing rogue waves and the surfers who seek them out.

For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dismissed these stories — waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea — including several that approached 100 feet.

As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of people as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100­foot wave.

In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves — from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.

Like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.

Review:

"Casey, O magazine editor-in-chief, travels across the world and into the past to confront the largest waves the oceans have to offer. This dangerous water includes rogue waves south of Africa, storm-born giants near Hawaii, and the biggest wave ever recorded, a 1,740 foot-high wall of wave (taller than one and a third Empire State Buildings) that blasted the Alaska coastline in 1958. Casey follows big-wave surfers in their often suicidal attempts to tackle monsters made of H2O, and also interviews scientists exploring the danger that global warning will bring us more and larger waves. Casey writes compellingly of the threat and beauty of the ocean at its most dangerous. We get vivid historical reconstructions and her firsthand account of being on a jet-ski watching surfers risk their lives. Casey also smoothly translates the science of her subject into engaging prose. This book will fascinate anyone who has even the slightest interest in the oceans that surround us. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Review:

"[Casey's] wonderfully vivid, kinetic narrative only occasionally groans under the weight of too many Wild Surf stories, and she offers a prescient vision of watery perils — and sometimes, bittersweet triumphs." New York Times

Review:

"Casey unlocks the mysteries of waves in her fascinating and enlightening book. And like a surfer who is happily hooked, the reader simply won't be able to get enough of it." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"[A]n engrossing set of stories.... In the end, you gain a healthy respect for the power of these waves and the people who surf them, and for the challenges facing those trying to understand them." Los Angeles Times

Synopsis:

Casey follows a unique tribe of extreme surfers as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100-foot wave. In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Laird Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists' urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves.

Synopsis:

Our species is more profoundly connected to the sea than we ever realized, as an intrepid cadre of scientists, athletes, and explorers is now discovering. Deep follows these adventurers into the ocean to report on the latest findings about its wondrous biology and#8212; and unimagined human abilities.

Synopsis:

The deep sea remains Earthand#8217;s final frontier. And as James Nestor reveals, adventurous scientistsand#8217; current quests to solve the mysteries of the ocean are transforming not only our knowledge of the planet and its creatures, but also our understanding of the human body and mind. Over the course of the book, Nestor journeys from the oceanand#8217;s surface and#8212; where the extreme sport of freediving pushes the boundaries of human physical endurance and#8212; to its greatest, most otherworldly depth, 35,000 feet below sea level at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Along the way he finds and#8220;telepathicand#8221; corals that synchronize their blooming even though theyand#8217;re hundreds of miles apart, octopus species that thrive in 300-degree water, sharks that swim in unerringly straight lines through pitch blackness, and, most illuminating of all, the human pioneers whose discoveries are expanding our definition of what is possible in the natural world, and in ourselves.

Synopsis:

From Susan Casey, bestselling author of The Devil’s Teeth, an astonishing book about colossal,  ship-swallowing rogue waves and the surfers who seek them out.

For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dis­missed these stories—waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea—including several that approached 100 feet.

As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of peo­ple as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100­-foot wave.

In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves—from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.

Like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.

Video

About the Author

Susan Casey, the author of the New York Times bestseller The Devil's Teeth, is the  Editor-in-Chief of O magazine, and has also served as creative director of Outside magazine.

Table of Contents

0and#160;|and#160;1

and#160;and#8722;60and#160;|and#160;12

and#160;and#8722;300and#160;|and#160;27

and#160;and#8722;650and#160;|and#160;54

and#160;and#8722;800and#160;|and#160;81

and#160;and#8722;1,000and#160;|and#160;100

and#160;and#8722;2,500and#160;|and#160;126

and#160;and#8722;10,000and#160;|and#160;159

and#160;and#8722;28,700and#160;|and#160;201

and#160;Ascentsand#160;|and#160;222

and#160;Epilogueand#160;|and#160;228

and#160;Acknowledgmentsand#160;|and#160;234

and#160;Notesand#160;|and#160;239

and#160;Bibliographyand#160;|and#160;247

and#160;Indexand#160;|and#160;257

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 8 comments:

Catherine McBride-Stern, January 2, 2012 (view all comments by Catherine McBride-Stern)
Follow an elite group of tow-in-big-wave riders as they ride the freak waves of the world. You will feel as if you are there as they catch these giants and feel the fear as they describe wipe-outs that break bones and fracture souls. Also visit with scientists that study the change in the world’s geology, arctic glaciers, ocean currents and weather brought on by global warming, and learn what is happening on the ocean floor that will change coastal climates and ocean voyages in the near future. You will also be told what exactly happens to the shipping industry as these 100 footers become more prevalent. A book that puts global warming into perspective relating to what covers most of our earth. Highly recommended, and not for the faint of heart.
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Donn, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Donn)
The Wave catches your attention from the first pages and pulls you along on a fascinating tale of scientists, surfers and the sea. The topic is interesting to anyone who has ever seen the ocean; it is written in a clear, plain, and engaging style that draws in a nonspecialist, yet is careful enough to satisfy scientists. An excellent story.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
GFaughn, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by GFaughn)
When a friend gave me this book to read, commenting on how much she enjoyed it, I politely accepted it and set it aside to read "some day", thinking it didn't sound like anything I'd choose. I'm not usually interested in surfing, nor in oceanography, so it just didn't sound appealing. Was I ever wrong! A few months later I picked the book up, and I couldn't put it down. I recommended it to our book club, and now all the members are reading it as next month's selection -- and I've given it to both of my children and their spouses (two of whom are surfers, and one a scientist). The book opened my eyes to many aspects of the ocean and those who spend time in its waters.
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View all 8 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780767928847
Author:
Casey, Susan
Publisher:
Doubleday Books
Author:
Nestor, James
Subject:
Ecosystems & Habitats - Oceans & Seas
Subject:
Ecology
Subject:
Oceans & Seas
Subject:
Waves & Wave Mechanics
Subject:
Surfing
Subject:
Oceanography-General
Subject:
surfing;science;non-fiction;waves;oceanography;ocean;oceans;global warming;nature;hawaii;adventure;climate change;extreme sports;shipping;shipwrecks
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20100931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8-page 4/c insert
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects


Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Ocean and Marine Biology
Science and Mathematics » Oceanography » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » General
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Water Sports » General
Sports and Outdoors » Sports and Fitness » Water Sports » Surfing

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780767928847 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

It has long been asserted that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do the vast seascapes that cover some 70 percent of our planet. Susan Casey's seductive book, The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean, goes a long way to support this claim. As Casey, award-winning journalist and editor-in-chief of O magazine, traverses the globe in search of the world's mightiest waves, we are introduced to a fascinating cast of characters, including some of the most renowned big-wave surfers, as well as scientists on the forefront of these little-understood phenomena.

Although sailors and seafarers have for centuries claimed encounters with giant hundred-foot waves, they have often been rejected as tall tales and exaggerations. It turns out, however, that not only are such waves more common than anyone could have ever imagined, they are also occurring with increasing frequency.

Much of The Wave centers upon the famed exploits of big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton, with Casey following him around the world in his pursuit of ever more legendary waves (his home turf is the exalted jaws break, Pe'ahi, off the coast of Maui). Throughout the book Casey strives to portray Hamilton and his colleagues as more than mere thrill-seekers, and succeeds in depicting them as humble, graceful individuals who happen to be (after decades of conquest) the best at what they do. Most of the big-wave surfers Casey encounters throughout her travels (especially Hamilton, Dave Kalama, and crew) espouse the glory of surfing for personal (and often spiritual) reward, and roundly reject the commercialization of sponsored surf tournaments and the like. While they may be rightly called legends and pioneers in their respective sport, at no point does this fact seem to inflate their egos.

Other portions of The Wave delve into the historical record, with a particularly unbelievable chapter on the July 1958 megatsunami that struck Lituya Bay, Alaska. Following a 7.9-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing avalanche of ice and rock, a mindboggling 1,720-foot wave devastated the bay and killed two (though it spared a survivor whose first-hand account of the incident is utterly chilling).

The most unsettling parts of the book (if, indeed, anything is scarier than a 170-story wave) deal with climate change and the ever-evolving models of climate science. As the planet warms, ice caps melt, and sea levels rise, most scientists anticipate an increase in oceanic volatility. Earthquakes and tsunamis are expected to become more common, and, thus, also their calamitous effects. While some big-wave surfers may be looking forward to larger waves and gnarlier breaks, the predicted effects on low-lying, densely inhabited coastal areas seem rather foreboding.

The Wave is far from a comprehensive work on the subject, yet it is an eminently readable and fascinating look into a compelling and perplexing realm. Susan Casey's book will arouse even the most stifled and landlocked of imaginations. As they have for millennia past, the sea's mysteries shall continue to inspire, tempt, beckon, and enthrall us forevermore.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Casey, O magazine editor-in-chief, travels across the world and into the past to confront the largest waves the oceans have to offer. This dangerous water includes rogue waves south of Africa, storm-born giants near Hawaii, and the biggest wave ever recorded, a 1,740 foot-high wall of wave (taller than one and a third Empire State Buildings) that blasted the Alaska coastline in 1958. Casey follows big-wave surfers in their often suicidal attempts to tackle monsters made of H2O, and also interviews scientists exploring the danger that global warning will bring us more and larger waves. Casey writes compellingly of the threat and beauty of the ocean at its most dangerous. We get vivid historical reconstructions and her firsthand account of being on a jet-ski watching surfers risk their lives. Casey also smoothly translates the science of her subject into engaging prose. This book will fascinate anyone who has even the slightest interest in the oceans that surround us. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review" by , "[Casey's] wonderfully vivid, kinetic narrative only occasionally groans under the weight of too many Wild Surf stories, and she offers a prescient vision of watery perils — and sometimes, bittersweet triumphs."
"Review" by , "Casey unlocks the mysteries of waves in her fascinating and enlightening book. And like a surfer who is happily hooked, the reader simply won't be able to get enough of it."
"Review" by , "[A]n engrossing set of stories.... In the end, you gain a healthy respect for the power of these waves and the people who surf them, and for the challenges facing those trying to understand them."
"Synopsis" by , Casey follows a unique tribe of extreme surfers as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100-foot wave. In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Laird Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists' urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves.
"Synopsis" by , Our species is more profoundly connected to the sea than we ever realized, as an intrepid cadre of scientists, athletes, and explorers is now discovering. Deep follows these adventurers into the ocean to report on the latest findings about its wondrous biology and#8212; and unimagined human abilities.
"Synopsis" by ,
The deep sea remains Earthand#8217;s final frontier. And as James Nestor reveals, adventurous scientistsand#8217; current quests to solve the mysteries of the ocean are transforming not only our knowledge of the planet and its creatures, but also our understanding of the human body and mind. Over the course of the book, Nestor journeys from the oceanand#8217;s surface and#8212; where the extreme sport of freediving pushes the boundaries of human physical endurance and#8212; to its greatest, most otherworldly depth, 35,000 feet below sea level at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Along the way he finds and#8220;telepathicand#8221; corals that synchronize their blooming even though theyand#8217;re hundreds of miles apart, octopus species that thrive in 300-degree water, sharks that swim in unerringly straight lines through pitch blackness, and, most illuminating of all, the human pioneers whose discoveries are expanding our definition of what is possible in the natural world, and in ourselves.
"Synopsis" by , From Susan Casey, bestselling author of The Devil’s Teeth, an astonishing book about colossal,  ship-swallowing rogue waves and the surfers who seek them out.

For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dis­missed these stories—waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea—including several that approached 100 feet.

As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of peo­ple as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100­-foot wave.

In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves—from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.

Like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.

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