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Gifts for Divers – books to suit all tastes – Pt1

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Gifts for Divers – books to suit all tastes – Pt1

Gift-giving became that much more difficult when the Age of Streaming arrived – DVDs and CDs are no longer the objects of desire they once were. Luckily printed books remain an ever-acceptable option as a present for all but the most Kindle-dedicated, so here is a selection of some of DIVER’s favourite recent diving-related titles

1218 xmasbooks main


1218 xmasbooks Lost Intruder e1543317794937The Lost Intruder: The Search for a Missing Navy Jet, by Peter M Hunt

Genre-busting autobiographical book that follows a technical wreck-diver obsessed with locating an elusive military aircraft off the USA’s north-west coast. Trouble is, Peter Hunt is also battling the rapid onset of Parkinson’s Disease, possibly caused by extreme diving. This uplifting book about a self-imposed race against time should appeal to all wreck-hunters.
CreateSpace Independent Publishing, ISBN: 9781546334972, Softback, 238pp, £15.40

Ships of the Cunard Line / Ships of the P&O Line, by Sam Warwick & Mike Roussel
1218 xmasbooks Cunard 2

Companion volumes, the older Cunard book is now out in paperback with updated site info and some new photos. It focuses on 18 major losses, mostly diveable, including Lusitania, Carpathia and Alaunia, and rounds up 66 more. P&O lost 78 ships between 1837 and 1957, with 26 familiar names such as Salsette, Moldavia, Somali and Carnatic ending up in diveable depths, and all covered here.
The History Press, ISBN: 9780750985383, Softback, 168pp, £20 and ISBN: 9781775845348, Hardback, 180pp, £25

1218 xmasbooks scapa flowDive Scapa Flow, by Rod Macdonald

There are many books about this world-class wreck-site off Orkney, based on the German High Seas fleet scuttling of 1919, but this one is masterful in meshing history with diving experiences, and its wreck illustrations are a big plus. Now in its sixth incarnation and twice as thick as it was originally, this centenary edition benefits from inclusion of the latest sonar scans.
Whittles Publishing, ISBN: 9781775845348, Softback, 344pp, £30

1218 xmasbooks deeper darknessDeeper into the Darkness, by Rod Macdonald

Another Macdonald book but a new one, Deeper into the Darkness offers histories and dive narratives of major wrecks from Scapa Flow to Truk and Palau, but blended with anecdotes, background detail and local colour that provide more of a personal touch and insight into the author than usual. It forms the third part of a trilogy with Into the Abyss, (itself recently updated) and The Darkness Below.
Whittles Publishing, ISBN: 9780995567383, Softback, 340pp, 17x24cm, £20

0317 book review we die like brothers coverWe Die Like Brothers: The Sinking of the ss Mendi, by John Gribble & Graham Scott

The transport ship Mendi, which sank off the Isle of Wight in 1917 with hundreds of black labourers from South Africa abandoned to their fate, was back in the news recently when its undeclared bell was returned by a guilty diver. One of the worst wartime sinkings off Britain, the story is one that should be widely known. The diving aspect is well-treated too.
Historic England, ISBN: 9781848023697, Hardback, 190pp, £17.99

1218 xmasbooks Titanic bookThe Titanic Expeditions: Diving to the Queen of the Deep 1985-2010, by Eugene Nesmeyanov

Another Titanic franchise product, but a good one for divers who are into manned submersible adventure because it’s not about the history of the 4km-deep shipwreck so much as the history of its underwater exploration, from discovery by Bob Ballard to the last manned visit by Richie Kohler and John Chatterton in 2005. Heavy on words and detail, light on pictures.
The History Press, ISBN: 9780750985482, Hardback, 300pp, £30

Appeared in DIVER December 2018


1218 xmasbooks hidden worldExploring Britain’s Hidden World; A Natural History of Seabed Habitats, by Keith Hiscock

Keeping technical terminology to a minimum, this eminent diver has come up with a treasurehouse of lavishly illustrated information about Britain’s seabeds, and what lives on and in them. The culmination of his 50 years of research into different subtidal seabed habitats and their associated marine life, it offers UK divers a solid foundation for understanding their underwater world.
Wild Nature Press, ISBN 9780995567344, Hardback, 272pp, £25

1218 xmasbooks Deep ThinkersDeep Thinkers: An Exploration of Intelligence in Whales, Dolphins & Porpoises, edited by Janet Mann

None of that cute-dolphin dippiness is to be found in this seriously scientific yet accessible book that treats cetaceans on their own terms, but it will help divers to understand their world better. Ten eminent researchers were involved in writing this book, which provides plenty of surprises and also underlines the many mysteries that await explanation.
Ivy Press, ISBN: 9781782405078, Hardback, 192pp, £20

In the Company of Seahorses, by Steve Trewhella &  Julie Hatcher

This coffee-table book majors on seahorses but also looks at other well-camouflaged tiny inhabitants of the threatened seagrass habitats dived regularly off Dorset by the authors. The photography is very good, though the seahorse portraits do become a bit repetitious by the end – the subjects’ repertoire of poses is necessarily limited!
Wild Nature Press, ISBN: 9780995567320, Hardback, 240pp, £19.99

1218 xmasbooks Eye of ShoalEye of the Shoal: A Fishwatcher’s Guide to Life, the Oceans and Everything, by Helen Scales

The author is a marine-biologist, broadcaster and diver and this clever book is based around a nine-month trip taking in 10 countries. Not a photo in sight, but it was one of our favourite books of 2018 thanks to the quality of the writing, observation and absorbing choice of content. Chapters cover broad themes such as coloration, light effects, shoaling, feeding, toxicity, sound, ancestors and feeling pain.
Bloomsbury Sigma, ISBN: 9781472936844, Hardback, 320pp, £16.99

1218 xmasbooksManta Devil RaysGuide to the Manta and Devil Rays of the World, by Guy Stevens, Daniel Fernando, Marc Dando & Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara

It’s a rare diver who doesn’t enjoy encounters with these intelligent, balletic and often awesomely large rays, and this book provides everything you’re likely to need to know about mantas and devil rays. Excellent photography, along with the great illustrations of Marc Dando.
Wild Nature Press, ISBN: 9780995567399, Softback, 144pp, 14.99

1218 xmasbooks secrets of seaSecrets of the Sea: An Underwater Journey Along the Norwegian Coast, by Erling Svensen & Bjorn Gulliksen

Yes, it’s Norway, but many of the superb images will be of species familiar to British divers, seen in perhaps clearer water. This large-format book is organised by broad habitat types and is made for browsing at random – it’s packed with fascinating facts and should sit well on the bookshelf of any British marine-life enthusiast.
Kom Forlag, ISBN: 9788293191407, Hardback, 317pp, 449 krone (around £42)

Blue Planet II: A New World of Hidden Depths, by James Honeyborne & Mark Brownlow

Accompaniment to the BBC wildlife documentary series that among other accomplishments achieved the seemingly impossible – engaged the public with the problem of plastic oceans. Often surprising marine-life behaviour is observed in 200 spectacular photos and a nice, easy style of script – great to flip through if you don’t have time to watch the series again.
BBC Books, ISBN: 9781849909679, Hardback, 312pp, £25

Octopus, Squid, Cuttlefish:  A Visual Scientific Guide, by Roger Hanlon, Mike Vecchione & Louise Allcock

So hot off the press that we haven’t even reviewed it yet (coming next month) but the fact that it’s an Ivy Press title counts for a lot in this field, and it’s clear at a glance that this book shares its stable-mates’ high production values. Three experts share their knowledge of these mysterious species treasured by divers around the world.
Ivy Press, ISBN: 9781782405702. Hardback, 224pp, £25

1218 xmasbooks Aquatical LatinAquatical Latin, by TM Hayes

Golden trevally have 201 common names in different countries, which can be confusing for divers, but use its binomial Gnathanodon speciosus (Greek for toothless jack) and a marine biologist knows what we’re talking about. For those who take their marine-life ID seriously, this book explores the meanings of the names of around 950 tropical fish and is written in a pleasantly light style.
Pogonichthys Publishing, ISBN: 9781545319222, Softback, 296pp, £14.99

Nicole: The True Story of Great White Shark’s Journey into History, by Richard Peirce

The epic round-trip of a tagged female great white from South Africa across the Indian Ocean and along the South Australian coast was the longest recorded at the time, underlined the shark’s intelligence and navigational skills and was instrumental in gaining CITES protection for the species. Pierce’s knowledge and imagination makes this an absorbing read.
Shark Cornwall Publishing, ISBN: 9781775845348, Softback, 136pp, £11.99
Click here for Part 2 of Gifts for Divers – books to suit all tastes, for Fiction Divers, Foodie Divers, History Divers, Travelling Divers and Cave Divers.


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