Stars Beneath the Sea: The Incredible Story of the Pioneers of the Deep Sea

Stars Beneath the Sea: The Incredible Story of the Pioneers of the Deep Sea


By (author) Trevor Norton

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  • Publisher: ARROW BOOKS LTD
  • Format: Paperback | 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 22mm | 259g
  • Publication date: 22 August 2000
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099405091
  • ISBN 13: 9780099405092
  • Illustrations note: b&w illustrations
  • Sales rank: 351,999

Product description

This is the remarkably funny true story of some of the brave, brilliant and often barmy men that invented diving. It is a story of explosive tempers and exploding teeth, of how to juggle live hand grenades and steer a giant rubber octopus. A series of vivid portraits reveal the eccentric exploits of these underwater pioneers. They include Guy who held a world altitude record when only sixteen, wrote a film for Humphrey Bogart, invented snorkelling and loved his wife enough to shoot her. Roy wore a backet over his head and stole a coral reef. Bill wearied of fishing with dynamite and wrestling deadly snakes, so he sealed himself in a metal coffin to dangle half a mile beneath the ocean. Cameron, testing the bouncing bomb for dam busters, made a plastic ear for a dog, a false testicle for a stallion and invented a mantrap disguised as a lavatory. He ascended from a depth of 200 feet without breathing equipment to see if his lungs would burst, then studied the effects of underwater explosions by standing closer and closer until shattered by the blast. The book also traces the evolution of underwater exploration, from spear fishermen to conversationalists, from treasure hunters to archaeologists, from photographers to philosophers. The sea is a secretive and seductive place and the author describes, with incredible humour, knowledge and historical accuracy, the magic and mystery of being beneath the waves.

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Author information

Trevor Norton is Professor of Marine Biology at the University of Liverpool and Director of the Port Erin Marine Laboratory on the Isle of Man. He has authored over 150 scientific publications and books, and is an authority on the history of scientific diving.

Review quote

"Trevor Norton has shown that a gifted writer is an alchemist... Norton's agile prose is burnished with faintly mocking humour, and he has the natural storyteller's eye for detail" Daily Telegraph "This anecdote-packed book reads rather like the draft of a rollicking after-dinner speech... rich entertainment" Mail on Sunday "Norton writes with wit and a fine eye for the poetry in the scientific work... funny and gripping" Guardian

Editorial reviews

This highly entertaining series of mini-biographies of the pioneers of diving goes a long way toward bringing alive the history of exploration of the deep. Packed with fascinating anecdotes and humorous asides, this volume will appeal to almost anyone's sense of high adventure. Take William Beebe: a succesion of wives tried unsuccessfully to get him to settle down but his more than 100 scientific expeditions all over the world show that that was clearly impossible. Beebe couldn't drive a car, but in the 1930s co-piloted hs bathysphere to five times the then record depth for humans - 3028 feet down. Beebe became famous for his colourful writing, speaking and ability to convince anyone to sponsor his expeditions, yet once he was half a mile down, he found himself in the decidedly awkward position of having to describe the untold mysteries and creatures of the deep on live radio linkups to the BBC and NBC, while conserving air. He had to save the adjectives for later. Absolutely delightful. (Kirkus UK)