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Description - Stars Beneath the Sea by Trevor Norton

This is the remarkably funny true story of some of the brave, brilliant and often barmy men that invented diving. It is a story of explosive tempers and exploding teeth, of how to juggle live hand grenades and steer a giant rubber octopus. A series of vivid portraits reveal the eccentric exploits of these underwater pioneers. They include Guy who held a world altitude record when only sixteen, wrote a film for Humphrey Bogart, invented snorkelling and loved his wife enough to shoot her. Roy wore a backet over his head and stole a coral reef. Bill wearied of fishing with dynamite and wrestling deadly snakes, so he sealed himself in a metal coffin to dangle half a mile beneath the ocean. Cameron, testing the bouncing bomb for dam busters, made a plastic ear for a dog, a false testicle for a stallion and invented a mantrap disguised as a lavatory. He ascended from a depth of 200 feet without breathing equipment to see if his lungs would burst, then studied the effects of underwater explosions by standing closer and closer until shattered by the blast. The book also traces the evolution of underwater exploration, from spear fishermen to conversationalists, from treasure hunters to archaeologists, from photographers to philosophers. The sea is a secretive and seductive place and the author describes, with incredible humour, knowledge and historical accuracy, the magic and mystery of being beneath the waves.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099405092
ISBN-10: 0099405091
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 18mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Arrow Books Ltd
Publisher: Cornerstone
Publish Date: 4-May-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions - Stars Beneath the Sea by Trevor Norton

Book Reviews - Stars Beneath the Sea by Trevor Norton

UK Kirkus Review » This highly entertaining series of mini-biographies of the pioneers of diving goes a long way toward bringing alive the history of exploration of the deep. Packed with fascinating anecdotes and humorous asides, this volume will appeal to almost anyone's sense of high adventure. Take William Beebe: a succesion of wives tried unsuccessfully to get him to settle down but his more than 100 scientific expeditions all over the world show that that was clearly impossible. Beebe couldn't drive a car, but in the 1930s co-piloted hs bathysphere to five times the then record depth for humans - 3028 feet down. Beebe became famous for his colourful writing, speaking and ability to convince anyone to sponsor his expeditions, yet once he was half a mile down, he found himself in the decidedly awkward position of having to describe the untold mysteries and creatures of the deep on live radio linkups to the BBC and NBC, while conserving air. He had to save the adjectives for later. Absolutely delightful. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Lively, encapsulated histories of a dozen or so adventurers, scientists, and eccentrics who experimented to discover ways to plumb the depths of the ocean, written by British scientist Trevor (Marine Biology/Univ. of Liverpool).Nobody had ever gone skindiving before John Guy Gilpatric created the first diving mask out of an old pair of flying goggles. That was in the South of France late in the 1920s, but people had been upending bell jars to capture the air inside in order to diveand breathesince Aristotle. Later in the 20th century, the efforts to discover the secrets of the deep became more scientific. J.B.S. Haldane, who follows his distinguished father in Trevor's study, began as a demolitions expert, progressed to the serious study of blood chemistry in the water and in the sky, and finished by laying the foundations for human and population genetics. He probably deserves his own book. Each of these adventuresome, sometimes foolhardy men arrived at the bottom of the ocean by a different routefrom a love of the sea, from a love of the air, from pure curiosity, or from the love of photography. Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea was seminal for most of them. Many tended to hurl themselves into the center of their experiments, some squashing themselves into leaky diving bells, others percolating their own blood for scientific ends. But what all Norton's subjects have in common is a battle against the pressure of deep water as they fought against the dark and the huge weight of an undersea atmosphere that tended to make eardrums perforate, bleed, and worse: "If the air supply was cut off," says Norton of some early divers who were over 150 feet down in primitive "hard hat" diving suits, "his entire body could be rammed up into the helmet, except for the soft bits which would shoot up the air hose." A seaworthy effort. (b&w photos, illustrations) (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Trevor Norton

Trevor Norton is Professor of Marine Biology at the University of Liverpool and Director of the Port Erin Marine Laboratory on the Isle of Man. He has authored over 150 scientific publications and books, and is an authority on the history of scientific diving.

Books By Trevor Norton

Imagination and a Pile of Junk by Trevor Norton
Paperback, June 2015
Underwater to Get Out of the Rain by Trevor Norton
Paperback, May 2007
Reflections on a Summer Sea by Trevor Norton
Paperback, August 2002