THE EDGE OF THE SEA
The Sea Around Us and Under the Sea-Wind introduced Rachel Carson to a reading public eager to welcome a scientist who wrote like a poet. This poetic quality is again dominant in this interpretation of the nature of the shore and the life in which it abounds. All of us brought up near the coast have something of the beach comber in us. Here is a book that will make that beach combing meaningful. The life of the creatures that inhabited the shells we find, the kinds of living creatures that can be sought and found on rugged, rocky shores, on sand beaches, on coral reefs -- these are made integral parts of the basic theme of the sea and its forces, its tides and currents. Miss Carson begins with her own Maine seacoast, and with her we explore the surf zone- where barnacles, limpets, periwinkles manage to survive. She identifies for us the zones of life, synchronized with the tides, the animal and vegetable world these rocky shores support. She makes the tide pools seas in miniature... Next on the rim of sand beaches she explores the holes and tracks of sand beach fauna, the burrowers, and the clams and whelks that come out at low tide, the flotsam of the upper beaches. Farther south- geologic history is written in the reefs off the Carolina coast, and the sponges, starfish, the barnacles and shipworm tunnels of the spars and driftwood tell their story. Ocean currents and the variety of mollusks they bring up, from the northeast down to the Florida Keys, chart the geographic areas and limitations. In the Keys one encounters the coral coast -- with a new sea world of vast variety. And in this area, too, the mangrove swamps and shore lines, the sea grasses, play host to other mollusks, to camouflaged sea creatures, to fresh evidence of the balance in the life at "the edge of the sea". The Appendix and the Index contribute important data on classification and nomenclature. But for the average layman, the fascination of the book lies not in its scientific value as a hand book, but in the exquisite form in which it is cast. Once again a poet speaks.