This is a thoughtful and revealing portrait of symbiotic friendship, a suspenseful tale of adventure at sea, and a eulogy to a trailblazing "popular scientist" whose full story has never before been told. In the 1930s, while the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression sent most of America into the doldrums, a lively intellectual and artistic community formed in the West, revolving around three legendary friends: Ed Ricketts, John Steinbeck, and Joseph Campbell. Steinbeck immortalized Monterey's bohemian spirit in Cannery Row, but the area's true lifeblood was his best friend and mentor, Ed Ricketts. Today he's usually remembered as "Doc" -- the beer-drinking philosopher-scientist who presides over Monterey's population of "whores, pimps, gamblers, and sons of bitches" in Cannery Row -- but Ricketts was actually a highly accomplished ecologist who did seminal work in the emerging field of marine biology. His two books, Between Pacific Tides and Sea of Cortez (coauthored with Steinbeck), are still considered classics.