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Neutral Buoyancy: Adventures in a Liquid World
by Tim Ecott
A brilliant mix of vivid reportage, history and science. Historical diving bells, greek sponge divers, world war two frogmen and record-setting breath hold divers compete for space with misunderstood sharks, weeping turtles, smiling dolphins and erotically shaped sea slugs. From Ireland to Florida, Papua New Guinea to Vienna and the Bahamas to Seychelles, Neutral Buoyancy ...more
Published May 30th 2002 by Penguin
(first published June 7th 2001)
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This book was a collection of chapters on seemingly random diving topics, from ancient Greeks to a detailed description of the qualities of the sponge through the development of modern scuba equipment the stories of current free-diving record-holders, interspersed with stories of the author's own diving experiences. The book didn't cover enough ground to be comprehensive, but at the same time it covered several topics I wasn't interested in (nearly-dead community of Greek sponge divers in Florid ...more
Ok I have to admit that anything diving related currently moves to the top of my book pile. This was a great one though. It is well written and will appeal to non-divers as well. Ecott does a great job of weaving the history of the sport with passionate descriptions of his dive adventures. If you dive you need to read it. If you get excited when John Mcphee writes a new book you will enjoy it. If you have a Horvathian interest in rats......You should borrow it next time you visit.
The subject matter is surprising in its power to evoke, and Tim Ecott makes good use of his personal diving experiences, aptly conveying the near-zen of being underwater. This personal reflection, though, is combined with a history of diving, which Ecott doesn't handle as well. The facts are dense and packed together, so that following along is a chore. A decent book that would have been better with a little more focus.
I'd easily give it a 3.5, actually. This book is good and well worth reading, even for someone who, like me, has never been diving. There are a lot of fascinating facts and lovely descriptions of underwater adventures. Quite well written too. But it drags in parts. (I could go 4 stars, but I'm trying to be stingier in my ratings.)
Really interesting historical stories mixed with some nice stories from his own diving experiences. probably need to be a diver to get the most from it otherwise the historical bits might not have been quite as good as I found them to be. loads of stuff in it that I mean to look further into
the chapter about diving for sponges and the industry of sponge gathering and selling in florida was really interesting. the rest of the book was boring and had way too much about his personal feelings while diving.