Deep Water: The World in the Ocean By James Bradley Cover Image
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"Deep Water is a major achievement....Bradley's skills both as novelist and essayist converge here to create this wise, compassionate and urgent book, characterized throughout by a clarity of prose and a bracing moral gaze that searches water, self and reader." —ROBERT MACFARLANE, bestselling author of Underland

In this thrilling work—a blend of history, science, nature writing, and environmentalism—acclaimed writer James Bradley plunges into the unknown to explore the deepest recesses of the natural world.

Seventy-one percent of the earth’s surface is ocean. These waters created, shaped, and continue to sustain not just human life, but all life on Planet Earth, and perhaps beyond it. They serve as the stage for our cultural history—driving human development from evolution through exploration, colonialism, and the modern era of global leisure and trade. They are also the harbingers of the future—much of life on Earth cannot survive if sea levels are too low or too high, temperatures too cold or too warm. Our oceans are vast spaces of immense wonder and beauty, and our relationship to them is innate and awe inspired.

Deep Water is both a lyrically written personal meditation and an intriguing wide-ranging reported epic that reckons with our complex connection to the seas. It is a story shaped by tidal movements and deep currents, lit by the insights of philosophers, scientists, artists and other great minds. Bradley takes readers from the atomic creation of the oceans, to the wonders within, such as fish migrations guided by electromagnetic sensing. He describes the impacts of human population shifts by boat and speaks directly and uncompromisingly to the environmental catastrophe that is already impacting our lives. It is also a celebration of the ocean’s glories and the extraordinary efforts of the scientists and researchers who are unlocking its secrets. These myriad strands are woven together into a tapestry of life that captures not only our relationship with the planet, but our past, and perhaps most importantly, what lies ahead for us.

A brilliant blend of Robert MacFarlane’s Underland, Susan Casey’s The Underworld, and Simon Winchester’s Pacific and The Atlantic, Deep Water taps into the essence of our planet and who we are.

About the Author


James Bradley is a writer and critic. His books include the novels WrackThe Deep FieldThe ResurrectionistClade, and Ghost Species; a book of poetry, Paper Nautilus; and The Penguin Book of the Ocean. Alongside his books, James has an established career as an essayist and reviewer, whose work has appeared in many publications, including The GuardianThe MonthlySydney Review of BooksTimes Literary SupplementMeanjin, and Griffith Review. His fiction has won or been shortlisted for a wide range of Australian and international literary awards, and his essays and articles have been shortlisted twice for the Bragg Prize for Science Writing and nominated for a Walkley Award. In 2012, he won the Pascall Award for Australia’s Critic of the Year. He is currently an Honorary Associate at the Sydney Environment Centre at the University of Sydney. 

Praise For…


"Bradley's shimmering discussion extends beyond deep-sea science...The origin of oceans, development of human societies and cultures on the ocean's edge, sensory worlds of aquatic organisms, and oceanic soundscapes are deftly described. ....The biodiversity and interconnectedness of oceanic lifeforms are breathtaking." — Booklist (starred review)

"Bradley weaves natural history, climate studies, and trivia into an elegant whole that drives home the dire threat global warming poses to the ocean, all delivered in plaintive prose. It’s a galvanizing call to action." — Publishers Weekly

"Deep Water is a major achievement; a vast fathoming of the pasts, presents and futures of the world's oceans and seas. Bradley's skills both as novelist and essayist converge here to create this wise, compassionate and urgent book, characterized throughout by a clarity of prose and a bracing moral gaze that searches water, self and reader." — Robert Macfarlane, bestselling author of Underland.

“Bradley vividly conveys the awe-inspiring scale of the deep seas, both in space and time… Magical” — The Guardian

"Astonishing in both its depth and breadth, Deep Water is an incisive, thoughtful exploration of the complicated and crucial relationships we have with our oceans. James Bradley has written a tour de force at a moment when we need it most."  — Juli Berwald, Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone

 “As someone who loves and lives on the Ocean, I am inspired by James Bradley's new book. Deep Water dives deep into the ocean's heart—James has a magical mix of personal tales, science, and a powerful message to care for our seas. It’s a blend of wonder at the ocean’s splendor and a push to protect it. This book is an incredible journey that showcases the sea's greatness and why we need to collectively act and preserve it.” 
Laird Hamilton, surf legend and author of Liferider: Heart, Body, Soul, and Life Beyond the Ocean

"A novelist, activist, and naturalist writes a paean to the sea… A satisfying tribute to the wonders of the ocean and the myriad dangers it faces." — Kirkus Reviews

“What does it mean to live on an ocean planet? It’s an important question, one that has shaped human history and will define our future. James Bradley provides fresh and sometimes surprising perspectives as he guides his readers toward “seeing the world through the lens of the ocean.” Covering a highly varied range of topics … Bradley offers a unique view of our world and our place in it. A must read for conservationists and ocean enthusiasts.” Edith Widder, Ph.D., author of Below the Edge of Darkness: A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea

"Brilliant, thought-provoking and painstakingly researched, James Bradley’s Deep Water invites readers to reconsider our place in the grand tapestry of existence. Acknowledging that we are not necessarily the dominant species, the book reveals the interconnectedness and kinship we share with all life forms." — Jill Heinerth, author of Into the Planet

"What a wondrous book. In vivid, urgent prose, James Bradley takes us on a journey through oceanic worlds. Epic in scope and charged with a compulsive capitalist critique, Deep Water balances the grief of environmental catastrophe with a profound sense of awe and possibility. There is no false hope here. But there is hope.”   — Billy Griffiths, author of Deep Time Dreaming

Teeming with mysteries, wonders and heartbreaking facts, this beautiful, lucid hymn to the sea is a reminder of what we still have, what we stand to lose, and why we must never stop fighting to save our home. — Tim Winton, author of Breath, Cloudstreet, and Dirt Music

‘A sublime work, quite literally: vast, beautiful, sometimes frightening. Bradley is a talented scholar, surveying widely in various disciplines. But he keeps his novelist’s eyes for poignant intimacy: moments of love and grief, curiosity and rage. If you care about our oceans, submerge yourself in Deep Water.’ — Damon Young, author of The Art of Reading

"[A] mesmerizing work of non-fiction that will inspire awe and make you weep. It’s a rare work of non-fiction that can make the reader weep with wonder then grief from one sentence to the next. James Bradley’s capacity to weave such an intense emotional spell with his writing was evident in his profound apocalyptic novel Clade, and now he brings that talent to his first book-length work of non-fiction Deep Water." — Sydney Morning Herald

"Like all good nature writing, Deep Water invokes the beauty of the nonhuman world in terms both down-to-earth and mythopoetic... Dazzling." — The Saturday Paper



Product Details
ISBN: 9780063390171
ISBN-10: 0063390175
Publisher: HarperOne
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2024
Pages: 448
Language: English