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DEEP WATER

THE WORLD IN THE OCEAN

A satisfying tribute to the wonders of the ocean and the myriad dangers it faces.

A novelist, activist, and naturalist writes a paean to the sea.

Bradley, editor of The Penguin Book of the Ocean, reminds readers that we live on a planet whose surface is mostly water. “We spend the first nine months of our lives suspended in the liquid of the womb; once we emerge our tissues are made of water, our blood salt as the sea,” he writes. With a nod to Rachel Carson, who also wrote about “the ocean’s mysteries” and “the way its meanings haunt and elude us,” Bradley brings the science up to date with the latest findings of oceanographers and biologists. He begins with a history of the Earth; soon after the planet cooled, water appeared. Bradley delivers a vivid, expert education on the ocean’s makeup and behavior, including valuable information on currents, tides, sea creatures, reefs, glaciers and sea ice, abyssal depths (amazingly rich in life), beaches, and resource extraction, with an emphasis on the heavy hand of human exploitation. In the 20th century, scientists mourned species extinction and disappearing forests, but the current century’s onslaught of climate change, massive chemical and plastic pollution, and technology that literally vacuums up life from the ocean and ores from its floor means that many modern natural histories—Bradley’s included—deliver as much pain as pleasure. Human cultures barely disturbed the ocean until technology from Western Europe exploded across the world after the Middle Ages, followed by the industrial revolution. While historians do not ignore the despicable international slave trade, colonialism, and racism that followed, Bradley devotes more space than the average natural historian. His warnings about the mass human disaster already in progress, including continued warming and rising sea levels, are more focused, though equally disturbing.

A satisfying tribute to the wonders of the ocean and the myriad dangers it faces.

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780063390171

Page Count: 464

Publisher: HarperOne

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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ELON MUSK

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

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A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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THE ELEPHANTS OF THULA THULA

A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.

The third volume in the Elephant Whisperer series.

In this follow-up to An Elephant in My Kitchen, Malby-Anthony continues her loving portrait of the Thula Thula wildlife reserve, which she co-founded in 1998 with her late husband, South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony, who published the first book in the series, The Elephant Whisperer, in 2009. Following his death in 2012, Malby-Anthony sought to honor his legacy by continuing his vision “to create a massive conservancy in Zululand, incorporating our land and other small farms and community land into one great big game park.” At the same time, the elephants gave her “a sense of purpose and direction.” In the Zulu language, thula means quiet, and though the author consistently seeks to provide that calm to her charges, peace and tranquility are not always easy to come by at Thula Thula. In this installment, Malby-Anthony discusses many of the challenges faced by her and her staff, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. These included an aggressive, 2-ton rhino named Thabo; the profound loss felt by all upon the death of their elephant matriarch, Frankie; difficulty obtaining permits and the related risk of having to relocate or cull some of their animals; the fear of looting and fire due to civil unrest in the region; and the ongoing and potentially deadly struggles with poachers. Throughout, the author also shares many warm, lighthearted moments, demonstrating the deep bond felt among the humans and animals at the reserve and the powerful effects of the kindness of strangers. “We are all working in unity for the greater good, for the betterment of Thula Thula and all our wildlife….We are humbled by the generosity and love, both from our guests and friends, and from strangers all around the world,” writes the author. “People’s open-hearted support kept us alive in the darkest times.”

A heartwarming and inspiring story for animal lovers.

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 9781250284259

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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