Oceanic Tales

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Oceanic Tales

Adult nonfiction to get swept up in

Throughout history, oceans have provided inspiration and adventure as well as a place of danger. Enjoy an adventure on and under the ocean with a selection of non-fiction books.

All of these titles are linked to in their eBook and digital audiobook versions for current ease of access, though DC Public Library also owns many of these titles in physical format as well.

The Wave by Susan Casey
For centuries, sailors had told tales of waves so high as to be dismissed by scientists as impossible -- until February 2000 when, during the overnight hours, a British research ship was caught by waves over 100 feet in the North Sea. What causes these types of waves to occur? As Casey explores the answer, she also examines these waves through the lens of extreme surfers, who take the dangerous challenge boarding on high waves. She meets a few of these extreme surfers and hears their stories. A thrilling and informative read! Maps are included at the beginning of the text.

In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides
During the 19th century, the North Pole was uncharted territory. There was popular and scientific curiosity about what was there and national glory awaited for explorers to plant a flag there. In July 1879, the USS "Jeanette" set sail from San Francisco. James G. Bennett, owner of The New York Herald, funded the voyage and selected George Washington de Long as the captain of the expedition. In 1881, the ship's hull was breached in uncharted waters, forcing the entire crew to abandon ship. This book chronicles the crew's journey across the frozen landscape and the dangers they faced. An incredible story of survival! Archival images accompany the text.

Four Fish by Paul Greenberg
Cod, bass, salmon and tuna. These are four common types of fish on our dinner plates -- and together they provide a lens into humankind's evolving relationship with the ocean. The author, a long time fisherman, examines how oceans have been affected from over fishing and the related mix of farm and wild fish on the market. A thoughtful and informative read about the fish we eat and the bigger story they tell. 

The Last Great Sea by Terry Glavin 
Take a voyage through the North Pacific Ocean! This area of the world is an important geopolitical location due to its commercial significance to the fishing industry, and archaeological evidence has shown maritime civilizations thrived in the North Pacific longer than previously believed. Glavin here combines history, mythology and science to tell the story of an enduringly great sea. 

The Lost Fleet by Barry Clifford 
In 1678, a French armada sank off the coast of Venezuela, depleting France's naval power in South America while also enabling a new era of piracy. In this fascinating book, the author explores this series of events, diving into this bygone age when buccaneers who were outcasts from European society settled along the African coast and sailed in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, causing terror on the high seas -- often at the behest of European governments seeking to best their rivals! Archival images and illustrations accompany the text.