Synopses & Reviews
No one understands the octopus. With eight arms, three hearts, camouflaging skin, and a disarmingly sentient look behind its highly evolved eyes, how could it appear anything but utterly alien?
Octopuses have been captivating humans for as long as we have been catching them. Many cultures have octopus-centric creation myths, art, and, of course, cuisine. For all of our ancient fascination and millions of dollars worth of modern research, however, we still have not been able to get a firm grasp on these enigmatic creatures.
Now, Katherine Harmon Courage, a veteran journalist and contributing editor for Scientific American, dives into the mystifying underwater world of the octopus. She reports from around the globe of her adventures in Spain, Greece, and even Brooklyn, inviting us to experience the scientific discoveries and deep cultural ties that connect us to the octopus. Youll discover:
- The oldest known fossilized octopus is estimated to have lived 296 million years agoeven before the first dinosaurs emerged.
- Government agencies are funding research labs around the world to re-create the octopuss naturally occurring camouflage techniques.
- About two thirds of an octopuss brain capacity is spread throughout its eight arms, meaning each one literally has a mind of its own.
- Octopuses have aced numerous intelligence tests, including opening childproof bottles, solving mazes, and even recognizing individual people.
- The octopus can change colors and textures within milliseconds to vanish against its backgroundyet we have no evidence that it can see in color.
Courage deftly interweaves personal narrative with interviews with leading octopus experts. The result is an entertaining yet scientifically grounded exploration of the octopus and its infinitely complex world.
"and#91;Aand#93; well-researched and well-written cultural and ecological history of stubborn perseverance."andnbsp;andmdash;USA Today
"A beautifully considered historyand#8230;Woodardandrsquo;s admiration for lobster culture is stirringand#8230;and#91;Mainersandrsquo;and#93; feisty pluck remains undiminished in the face of obstacles." andmdash;Newsday
Delves deeply and reflectively into the history of the coast of Maine and its people." andmdash;The Boston Globe
"and#91;Aand#93; well-researched and well-written cultural and ecological history of stubborn perseverance." andmdash;USA Today
"Woodard doesnandrsquo;t disguise his pique. Maine is worth fighting for-as is any village with distinctly etched local character and community." andmdash;The Christian Science Monitor
"A triumph." andmdash;Bookpage
"Lively." andmdash;The Economist
"Lucidand#8230;engaging." andmdash;Publishers Weekly
"Thought-provokingand#8230;Woodard is a talented writer, a skilled journalistand#8230;.lively reading for history buffsand#8230;an important book for any Maine loverandrsquo;s bookshelf." andmdash;Bangor Daily News
"A feastand#8230;Woodard uses the lobster to tell the whole history of Maine." andmdash;Working Waterfront
"Highly engaging, intelligent." andmdash;Down East
“A pleasant, chatty book on a fascinating subject.”
“[A] well-written, accessible book”.
and#8220;A pleasant, chatty book on a fascinating subject.and#8221; and#8212;Kirkus
and#8220;[A] well-written, accessible bookand#8221;. -Library Journal
and#8220;Katherine Harmon Courageand#8217;s reportage on what the mollusk is teaching us about robotics, invertebrate intelligence and camouflage is excellentand#8221; and#8211; Nature Journal
and#8220;In journalist Katherine Harmon Courageand#8217;s intimate, expansive portrait of these mysterious creatures, she reveals their role in everything from military research to tasty cuisine.and#8221; and#8211; Psychology Today
"Octopus! is crammed with funny,and#160;weird, memorable stories about human interactions with cephalopods that start out strange and only get stranger." and#8211; NBCNews.com
"I love Octopus! What creature is more beguiling, expressive and enigmatic? Katherine Harmon Courage's breezy, accessible book introduces us to a top predator, a shape-shifter, a sea mystery that no one can resist." --SY MONTGOMERY, author of Journey of the Pink Dolphins: An Amazon Quest
* andquot;Chapters of action, with smoothly integrated explanatory background, are interspersed with informative passages about octopuses, the field station, and coral reefs...Amazing photographs reveal the octopusesand#39; remarkable shape-changing abilities and help readers visualize this experience. Science in the field at its best.andquot;
andmdash;Kirkus, starred review
* andquot;Endlessly fascinating.andquot;
andmdash;Booklist, starred review
For more than four hundred years the people of coastal Maine have clung to their rocky, wind-swept lands, resisting outsidersandrsquo; attempts to control them while harvesting the astonishing bounty of the Gulf of Maine. Todayandrsquo;s independent, self-sufficient lobstermen belong to the communities imbued with a European sense of ties between land and people, but threatened by the forces of homogenization spreading up the eastern seaboard.
In the tradition of William Warnerandrsquo;s Beautiful Swimmers, veteran journalist Colin Woodard traces the history of the rugged fishing communities that dot the coast of Maine and the prized crustacean that has long provided their livelihood. Through forgotten wars and rebellions, and with a deep tradition of resistance to interference by people andldquo;from away,andrdquo; Maineandrsquo;s lobstermen have defended an earlier vision of America while defying the andldquo;tragedy of the commonsandrdquo;andmdash;the notion that people always overexploit their shared property. Instead, these icons of American individualism represent a rare example of true communal values and collaboration through grit, courage, and hard-won wisdom.
A fascinating look at the octopus through its life, death, robotic replicas, and delicious dinners
We eat, study, copy, and idealize the octopus. Yet this strange creature still eludes our understanding. With eight arms, three hearts, camouflaging skin, and a disarmingly intelligent look behind its eyes, it appears utterly alien. But octopuses have been captivating humans for as long as weve been catching them. Cultures have created octopus-centric creation myths, art, and, of course, cuisine. For all of our ancient fascination and modern research, however, we still havent been able to get a firm grasp on these slippery beasts.
Now journalist Katherine Harmon Courage dives into the fascinating underwater world of these mysterious cephalopods. From her transatlantic adventures to Spain and Greece, expeditions in the Caribbean and back to Brooklyn, she invites readers to experience the scientific discoveries, deep cultural ties, and delicious meals connected to the octopus.
Courage deftly interweaves personal narrative with interviews with leading octopus experts. She provides an entertaining yet informative romp through the world of these infinitely interesting creatures.
and#147;A pleasant, chatty book on aand#160;fascinating subject.and#8221;and#160;and#151; Kirkus Reviews
Octopuses have been captivating humans forand#160;as long as we have been catching them. Yetand#160;for all of our ancient fascination and modernand#160;research, we still have not been able to get aand#160;firm grasp on these enigmatic creatures.
Katherine Harmon Courage dives into theand#160;mystifying underwater world of the octopusand#160;and reports on her research around the world.and#160;She reveals, for instance, that the oldest knownand#160;octopus lived before the first dinosaurs; thatand#160;two thirds of an octopusand#8217;s brain capacity isand#160;spread throughout its arms, meaning eachand#160;literally has a mind of its own; and that itand#160;can change colors within milliseconds toand#160;camouflage itself, yet appears to be colorblind.
Part of the award-winning Scientists in the Field series, The Octopus Scientists takes readers to the waters off of Moorea, Tahiti to study the mind of the mollusk. Follow scientists as they uncover the secrets of its advanced intelligence and learn what these thinking, feeling creatures have to teach us about the oceans, its animals,and#160;and ourselves.
With three hearts and blue blood, its gelatinous body unconstrained by jointed limbs or gravity, the octopus seems to be an alien, an inhabitant of another world. Itandrsquo;s baggy, boneless body sprouts eight arms covered with thousands of suckersandmdash;suckers that can taste as well as feel. The octopus also has the powers of a superhero: it can shape-shift, change color, squirt ink, pour itself through the tiniest of openings, or jet away through the sea faster than a swimmer can follow.
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; But most intriguing of all, octopusesandmdash;classed as mollusks, like clamsandmdash;are remarkably intelligent with quirky personalities. This book, an inquiry into the mind of an intelligent invertebrate, is also a foray into our own unexplored planet. These thinking, feeling creatures can help readers experience and understand our world (and perhaps even life itself) in a new way.
About the Author
Sy Montgomery is an author,andnbsp;naturalist, newspaper columnist,andnbsp;scriptwriter, and radio commentator who writes award-winning books for children as well as adults. She lives in Hancock, New Hampshire.andnbsp;Visit her website at symontgomery.com. andnbsp;andnbsp;andnbsp;andnbsp; Syandnbsp;Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop won theandnbsp;Sibert Medal in 2011andnbsp;for their collaborative work on Kakapo Rescue:andnbsp;Saving the World's Strangest Parrot,andnbsp;another Scientist in the Field title.andnbsp;andnbsp;Keith Ellenbogen is an award-winning underwater photographer with an emphasis on environmental conservation. His images have been published worldwide in newspapers, magazines, and books as well as on TV. He is a Senior Fellow with The International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP), a Fellow with the Explorers Club, and an Assistant Professor of Photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology / SUNY.