Synopses & Reviews
Jacques Cousteau, the man who introduced the wonders of the sea to a generation through his television series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, chronicled the early days of his underwater adventures in SILENT WORLD, which was an instant, international bestseller upon its publication in 1954. In the midst of World War II, Cousteau and mile Gagnan, a Parisian engineer, invented and successfully tested the first aqualung or SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus), which became the key to the modern age of underwater exploration. In Cousteau's book, he describes his first scuba dive, in the Mediterranean waters off the French Riviera in June 1943: "At night I had often had visions of flying by extending my arms as wings. Now I flew without wings ... I thought of the helmet diver arriving where I was on his ponderous boots and struggling to walk a few yards, obsessed with his umbilici and his head imprisoned in copper. On skin dives I had seen him leaning dangerously forward to make a step, clamped in heavier pressure at the ankles than the head, a cripple in an alien land. From this day forward we would swim across miles of country no man had known, free and level, with our flesh feeling what the fish scales know." The immense success of Silent World -- it sold more than 5 million copies in 22 languages -- demonstrates that Cousteau was more than a cameraman who brought back pictures from the deep. He brought a poetic spirit to his adventures and observations and so became the conduit by which millions of people made their first communion with the vast world of underwater life.
This special 50th anniversary edition of Cousteau's internationally bestselling memoir celebrates the astonishing, lyrical tale of his development of scuba and his subsequent discoveries in the fascinating world beneath the waves.
Before becoming the man who introduced us to the wonders of the sea through his beloved television series, Jacques Cousteau was better known as an engineer and the inventor of scuba. He chronicled his early days of underwater adventure in The Silent World—a memoir that was an instant, international bestseller upon its publication in 1954. Now, National Geographic presents a 50th anniversary edition of this remarkable book, allowing readers to once again travel under the sea with Cousteau during the turbulent days of World War II.