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Paperback Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus: Exploring and Conserving Our Natural World Book

ISBN: 1596914181

ISBN13: 9781596914186

Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus: Exploring and Conserving Our Natural World

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

The beloved explorer Jacques Cousteau witnessed firsthand the complexity and beauty of life on earth and undersea-and watched the toll taken by human activity in the twentieth century. In this magnificent last book, now available for the first time in the United States, Cousteau describes his deeply informed philosophy about protecting our world for future generations. Weaving gripping stories of his adventures throughout, he and coauthor Susan Schiefelbein...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Should be Mandatory reading for everyone on this planet

This book is a real eye-opener. I hope that more of our politicians read this book and act on its contents. It has certainly changed the way I think about things - in a positive way.

Saccage of our living resources

Again and again the worlds most brilliant scientist are telling us that we are rapidly depleting the natural world that sustains us. Cousteau explains it again a lyrical way that only he can. If you loved Jacques Cousteau in the '70's, you will realize what a real super hero he was after you read this book! Well written, easy and fun to read. A facinating journey with a remarkable man. Saccage is Cousteau's term for ransacking natural resources. He believed that people would protect that which they loved, with his films he tried to show us the beauty of his undersea world, his book gives us an important lesson in conservation of the ocean, its creatures and the planet.


This latest Cousteau/Schiefelbein book is thought-provoking, passionate, and brilliantly written. I loved it! It gives insights and little known facts about Cousteau's pioneer experiences an an oceanographic explorer. It weaves together fascinating stories, discoveries, anecdotes, and masterful writing to make you want more and more. Simply put, this is a must-read book for all of us -- especially people interested in conservation and the ocean, climate changes, the modern-day Age of Discovery, unique personalities in our time, and writing so skillful and flavorful that every page is a treat. Read this book! Tell your friends. This book is masterful.

Always passionate, frequently logical, sometimes preachy

My son is a well-read, well-informed world traveler at sixteen years old. His blank look when I told him I was reading an advanced copy of a new book by Jacques Cousteau is just one of the many reasons I am excited about the long overdue publication of this book. Cousteau died in 1997, and the absence of his influence in the past decade is echoed in my son's generation's lack of recognition. From the foreword by Bill McKibben: "For those of us who come of age in the 1960s or '70s, the picture of Jacques Cousteau is fixed forever in our minds. A slight but wiry man, yellow tank peeking over his shoulder, falling backward off the stern of the good ship Calypso as he prepared for yet another dive down among the rays or the jellyfish or the sea cows or the parrot fish - down, literally, into his world, "the undersea world of Jacques Cousteau." His voice became just as familiar, with its somehow slightly wistful but still infectious Gallic intonation. "In ze wisdom of ze dolphins lies ze test of human wisdom."" Always passionate, frequently logical, sometimes preachy, The Human, The Orchid and The Octopus presents Mr. Cousteau's unique perspective on personal exploration, the environment and our power to influence it. It sits well on my bookshelf next to volume 1 of The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau that my father gave me years ago, a tribute to one of the world's great explorers and visionaries. The influences of Cousteau and his unique perspective on man's effect on the environment are felt in the perceived environmental calamity in my own novel, Dusk Before the Dawn. The 25-page introductory biography of Cousteau, penned by his writing partner on this effort (and others), Susan Schiefelbein, is a reminder of the many marks Cousteau left behind, in the world of scuba, exploration, conservation and political maneuvering. It puts into perspective the small amount of time that humans (with the exception of noted free divers of the world) have spent exploring the underwater world (only about sixty-five years have passed since Cousteau's first 1943 dive with his aqualung). The first part of the book depicts Cousteau's drive to explore and his risk taking, his chapters titled "Personal Risk" and "Public Risk". Part autobiography and part philosophy, these pages put forth Cousteau's reason for being: his need to understand, to research, to discover, and when and how he took risks both personally and professionally. He compares those to the risks and lack of communication and consideration companies and governments take when undertaking risks on "behalf of" the public they serve or sell to: "Those who plan public risks do not say "Follow me." They say "Trust me." Politicians may rarely be in a position to try technologies for themselves. But they are always in a position to demand that risks be full investigated and that the people who face risks be fully informed. Too often decision makers abdicate this fundamental responsibility of risk man
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