Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves

Book - 2014
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An Amazon Best Book of 2014

While on assignment in Greece, journalist James Nestor witnessed something that confounded him: a man diving 300 feet below the ocean's surface on a single breath of air and returning four minutes later, unharmed and smiling.

This man was a freediver, and his amphibious abilities inspired Nestor to seek out the secrets of this little-known discipline. In Deep, Nestor embeds with a gang of extreme athletes and renegade researchers who are transforming not only our knowledge of the planet and its creatures, but also our understanding of the human body and mind. Along the way, he takes us from the surface to the Atlantic's greatest depths, some 28,000 feet below sea level. He finds whales that communicate with other whales hundreds of miles away, sharks that swim in unerringly straight lines through pitch-black waters, and seals who dive to depths below 2,400 feet for up to eighty minutes--deeper and longer than scientists ever thought possible. As strange as these phenomena are, they are reflections of our own species' remarkable, and often hidden, potential--including echolocation, directional sense, and the profound physiological changes we undergo when underwater. Most illuminating of all, Nestor unlocks his own freediving skills as he communes with the pioneers who are expanding our definition of what is possible in the natural world, and in ourselves.

Publisher: New York, New York : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.
ISBN: 9780547985527
Branch Call Number: 797.23 NESTOR J
Characteristics: 266 pages, 8 pages of color plates ; 24 cm


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Annnd a Big Exhale… (politics-free!)

Once in a while, helping a library patron or on the trail of a certain book or author, some odd tidbit in the catalog will grab my attention. A recent example: I discovered that the new book by James Nestor had several dozen holds on it, and at that time we owned only one copy. "Wait," you say. "Who's James Nestor?" You're forgiven if you haven't read all of my blog posts. I mentioned him a… (more)

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Dec 20, 2019

Fascinating and very readable. Highly recommend it.

TSCPL_ScarlettFH May 04, 2016

The best nonfiction book I read in 2014, Deep will inspire you to think about the ocean's vast, mysterious depths in a whole new way. An excellent read.

Apr 04, 2016

Great book and a fun read. I am not interested in going free-diving myself but the author's information on other topics (whales, sharks, deep sea vents, origins of life) was terrific.

Jul 07, 2015

Easy and fascinating read, if I had made the time I could've read it straight through. One of the most interesting subjects and easily in my top 5 books.

Jun 25, 2015

Absolutely enthralling!

Mar 30, 2015

I found this book really fascinating and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in free-diving and/or the ocean in general. It kept my attention the entire time.

Feb 17, 2015

I often don't finish books, but this held my attention throughout.
Very good read

lescarmure009 Feb 09, 2015

I'm a trained Freediver & took an immediate interest in Nestor's little "journey", as details in publisher's blurb reminded me of my own adventures, getting trained to the Intermediate level. Yes folks, there are schools out there, teaching responsible diving--complete with well-conceived Syllabii! But, I also see some parts of this book distorting Freediving, presumably for the sake of drama & to garner "cred" with casual readers who're non-divers & total outsiders.

Freedivers: I suggest you not try to read this book with out a calculator @ hand--since Nestor militantly used Imperial units (chiefly of depths, but also some temps.) throughout. For non-Freedivers: I suggest you read James Nestor's tome with a saltshaker @ your elbow, since some of what you will encounter needs to be taken "with a pinch of salt". ;-)

Some sections of Nestor's work puts me in mind of Director Bob Talbot's film: "Ocean Men: Extreme Dive". Sure they're dramatic, but for a general audience--which includes folks decidedly phobic around the Sea, in the 1st. place--the attempts @ dramatic tension just reinforce the presumption that diving is mortally dangerous & patently crazy...An impression fostered more by primal fear, than by statistical truth.

Jan 21, 2015

Fascinating. In spite of how much us humans have learned, there is much more left to be understood. Also a reminder that some things we "know" about our limitations or environment are actually unexamined assumptions.


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