Unnatural History of the Sea

  • by Callum M. Roberts
  • Narrated by Callum M. Roberts
  • 12 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Humanity can make short work of the oceans' creatures. In 1741, hungry explorers discovered herds of Steller's sea cow in the Bering Strait, and in less than 30 years, the amiable beast had been harpooned into extinction. It's a classic story, but a key fact is often omitted. Bering Island was the last redoubt of a species that had been decimated by hunting and habitat loss years before the explorers set sail.


What the Critics Say

"Thoughtful, inspiring, devastating, and powerful, Roberts' comprehensive, welcoming, and compelling approach to an urgent subject conveys large problems in a succinct and involving manner. Readers won't be able to put it down." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Superb! A unique and important history

This is a very good book. It's mostly about the history of man's exploitation of the sea. For example, whaling and over-fishing. There are not many books about the history of how over-fishing and over-hunting in the past has created the environment we have today.I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in fisheries, marine mammals, and the history of maritime exploration and commerce.

The first book I read by Callum Roberts was Oceans of Life, which is also superb, and is more focused on the oceans as ecosystems.
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- R. Smith

A great tale of the sea. Read it.

Even if you think you know what we've done to the oceans, the fact is, you probably don't.

Roberts does a great job making you aware of this in painstaking, but never laboured, detail.

Particularly interesting is the treatment of secular hero, and Darwin ally, Thomas Huxley, who managed to be hopelessly wrong about the interaction between natural systems and market forces not once, but twice, and who doubtlessly went to his grave thoroughly convinced that it was reality that was the party at fault! His high-handed, patronising treatment of witnesses at his inquiry is cringe-inducing, and gave me a new perspective on the man, and the foibles of intellectual arrogance.

Which, really, is the message of the book. Free markets in the oceans are a disaster. Marine parks and competent regulation are the solution.

At the very least you'll gain an insight into why your grandchildren ended up living off jellyfish...
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- bill doyle

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-24-2010
  • Publisher: Caravan