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The Edge of the Sea

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  826 ratings  ·  79 reviews
"The edge of the sea is a strange & beautiful place." A book to be read for pleasure as well as a practical identification guide, The Edge of the Sea introduces a world of teeming life where the sea meets the land. Rachel Carson's books have become cornerstones of the environmental & conservation movements.
The marginal world
Patterns of shore
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by Peter Smith Pub Inc (first published 1955)
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4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  826 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Apr 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Rachel Carson would be cause for serious regrets re: my career if she didn't write in such a damned inspirational way. You don't need to be a marine biologist to do and see the things she does, you just need to love nature and hang out by the sea. Barring that, all you need is free time to read and an open canvas of a mind for her words to paint on.

I was with a girl digging up Coquina Clams a week or two ago, and realized how little time I'd spent by the water. That, plus finishing Carson's book
Bob Newman
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Poetic Science

I still live where I grew up. When I was a kid, I could walk down to the end of the street and descend to the rocks by the Atlantic. Though throwing rocks at anything and everything used to occupy most of the time, or else fishing unsuccessfully, I could also investigate the tidal pools left at low tides. There I would find several kinds of snail, starfish, sea urchins, anemones, crabs of various sizes, tiny shrimp, a number of sea insects, and of course, many varieties of seaweed.
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
If there was ever a reason to fight for keep the oceans clean and free of oil, pesticides, or hidden poisons, this book ( however outdated) is an absolute must. This should renew your desire, set a fire under your lazy arse, or raise the volume of your ecologically minded soul to do SOMETHING to save this planet..
This was written so many decades ago and you can imagine how much worse things have gotten since this first was published. The powers that be have all but destroyed our way of life. Car
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though some of the information was outdated, I learned quite a bit. This book was densely packed with knowledge and because of this it took me quite a while to finish. I enjoyed all that I learned, enough so that I even read the appendices (though I don't think the editors did by the number of typographical errors). Well worth it, but maybe try to pace yourself and intersperse your reading with something a little lighter.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, audiobook
The Dewey Decimal system puts this in the 500's - hard science. Sure, yeah, I guess. It struck me more as Carson's love letter to the several ecosystems on the American Atlantic coast.

And Carson shows her love by enumerating and describing in grad-student field-notes-level detail all the species found there.

It's all important, and good, stuff, but came across as several laundry lists to me.
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it

Beautiful book. Just the kind I like to read during January.

“It is in part a sense of the unhurried deliberation of earth processes that move with infinite leisure, with all eternity at their disposal.”

This goes on the shelf next to John McPhee. It’s the next best thing to spending a month by the sea.

John Mehrman
Didn't finish. 50 pages in and all she has done is describe in great, great detail every creature/plant that lives there. Reminds me of a bird field guide but without the pictures or structured descriptions. Her prose was excellent, but not what I was looking for. Moving on to something else.
Last Ranger
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rocks,Sand, and Surf:

"The Edge of the Sea" is a fitting conclusion to Rachel Carson's so-called "Sea Trilogy" that started in 1941 with "Under the Sea Wind" and followed in 1951 with her famous "The Sea Around Us". In this, her final installment, Carson again delves in the Nature of Life at the boundaries of sea and land. As in all her writings, Carson raises the bar for quality nature writing for all future authors. Poetically written for the layman reader this book still serves as a good intro
Nov 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of nature books
Shelves: non-fiction
Scientist and ecologist Rachel Carson is famously the author of Silent Spring (a landmark book challenging the use of pesticides), and not-quite-so-famously the author of The Sense of Wonder (a short book about helping children develop a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural world) which I have gushed about in the past.

The Edge of the Sea is a great read for anyone who likes to spend time mucking around in tide pools, or is curious about the strange creatures that live in them. The ti
Dave Knaus
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There isn't much I can say about this book that hasn't already been said. This was my introduction to Rachel Carson, and the book has helped to change how I view the ocean, the shore, and the environment in general. The true gift of this book is Ms. Carson showing readers how everything in oceanic ecosystems is interrelated. I will read this again upon my next visit to the edge of the sea.
Jan 08, 2009 rated it really liked it
Another sea classic by Rachel Carson, this one focusing on life in the zones between lowest and highest tides. All animals and plants described here are directly observable without diving equipment, which makes this a valuable resource for beachcombers. Carson’s descriptive and lyrical writing make this a worthwhile read for anyone who enjoys visiting the beach or is curious about what life forms may be present below the waters at high tide.

The book describes intertidal life on the US East Coas
Jim Hurley
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Rachel Carson is a trained marine biologist, but this book is much more than a scientific study regarding the flora and fauna at "The Edge of the Sea". It resonates with a poignant and reverential awareness of the life force and life cycles that colonize our world. It never retreats from a sense of awe at that same life force which eventually produced the human race, and which is still the heart of a mystery. The details of individual life cycles are portrayed for a multitude of species, and als ...more
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was a gift from my son during a trip to Acadia, USA. It was a wake-up call. Though we loved hiking in the rocky areas, we did not really explore the coastline.
I took a long time to finish the book, because this is a virtual text book! When my family sugggested a trip to the Florida Keys, I was inspired to finish the read.
Carson's book focuses on the plants and invertebrates surviving in the Atlantic zones between the lowest and the highest tides, between Newfoundland and the Florida k
Jul 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I think if Rachel Carson and Muriel Wylie Blanchet had lived at the same time on the same side of the continent, they would have been friends.

This is like Pagoo for grownups :) My other favorite book about sea creatures.
Dec 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my most-loved books of all time. Packed with illustrations, it's like having a marine biologist walk along the beach with you. Or, for a marine biologist like me, it's a reminder of the wonder and the grandeur of the sea, the motivation that got me my vocation.
Kurt Garfield
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biology
I bought this book while waiting for a ferry to take me back to the mainland from Cape Lookout. I had just spent the night camping on the beach and woke up early to explore the island. While browsing the small gift shop at the ranger station this book caught my eye. I’ve known about Rachel Carson for sometime now because of Silent Spring and her influence on the environmental movement. Not having much knowledge beyond that I was intrigued to learn that she was a specialist in marine biology, som ...more
Fran Hickey
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rachel Carson was not only a brilliant scientist but an outstandingly gifted writer. Her patient observation and visual descriptions make you think you should lift you feet from the incoming tide. The countless hours of mesmerizing study and research come to life in this beautiful book of the sea shore.
The illustrations precisely achieved by Bob Hines are nothing short of a master artist. Absolutely breath taking. Such attention to the smallest detail. What a perfect match of artist to writer.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best dollars I ever spent, for the yellow-paged paperback found in a pile at the library book sale. The tiny creatures and the vibrant world they exist in seem completely alien to me, though they're only an arm's length away or even at times right under my feet. Rachel Carson brings everything brilliantly to life, conjuring pictures of Dr Seuss-like worlds. Every sentence is so densely packed with information, both factual and poetic, I could only read a page or two at a time, sometim ...more
LInda L
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was not quite as wonderful as The Sea Around Us, but it's pretty great. The drawings help to envision whatever she's writing about (many of which were unknown to me), Time magazine got it perfectly: "remarkable talent for catching the life breath of science on the still glass of poetry". Isn't that fantastic? Also, someone said: "is packed with precise knowledge, and derives its constant awareness that beyond knowledge still lies mystery". Too true. Her writing is inspirational in many ways ...more
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
A beautifully written book that is neither entirely scientific nor entirely poetic but born of observation and true respect for the subject. It's hard to find a narrative in Carson's work, but she definitely makes the inter tidal world fascinating. A book to consume in small bits, allow it to wash over you like waves over sand.
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lots of science, but Carson's fondness for the life of the intertidal zone gives the writing a warmth that makes it more accessible than a simple textbook. Evocative descriptions and loads of information.
Mar 21, 2019 rated it liked it
A very interesting and for a layperson detail view of the inter-tidal zone. If you are not interested in the numerous and varied creatures that inhabit the shoreline at low and high tide, this book may not be for you. If you are, it will be a goldmine.
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely illustrations and prose.
Alix Leszczynski
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As a marine science communicator this is one of my favorite books of all time. Carson talks about the sea and it's many life forms so lovingly.
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nature-envt
I realized while reading this book that I actually don't know anything about the ocean. Now I know a few things. This would be a lovely book to read right before visiting the beach.
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
DNF at around page 100.

I love Carson. Her writing is beautiful. But this book is a bit more science-specific than I can handle right now <3
Sep 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
Just couldn't get into this book which would be much better as a film or video, since it is difficult to visualize the flora & fauna described, even with the scattered illustrations
Michelle Stimpson
Dec 29, 2017 rated it liked it
"For it is now clear that in the sea nothing lives to itself . . . the present is linked with the past and future, and each living thing with all that surrounds it."
Michael Holm
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an elegant explanation of the lives of some of the organisms which live in the intertidal zone of the American eastern sea coast, between high and low tide. Rachel Carson considers this area in three chapters as it occurs on the Atlantic seaboard: the rocky North Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia and New England, the sandy coast from Cape Cod to the Florida penisula and finally the coral reefs in the Florida Keys. An explanation of the formation of each of these types of coast leads to the l ...more
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book that departs once more from the context of its predecessors. All the books in this series would make good stand alone titles as there is no narrative they follow other than their discourse on the sea in general. Well written and packed with a lot of knowledge as it was; I found it to be too centred on sea life on the eastern coast of the USA. Which is my only criticism of the book. Carson remains as poetic and romantic in her prose as ever,
It was a mere yesterday in the life of the eart
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Rachel Louise Carson (May 27, 1907 – April 14, 1964) was an American marine biologist and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement.

Carson began her career as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s. Her widely praised 1951 bestseller The Sea Around Us won
“The fact that the tube worms have managed to live in the intertidal zone for perhaps millions of years is evidence of a sensitive adjustment of their way of life, on the one hand to conditions within the surrounding world of the rockweeds, on the other to vast tidal rhythms linked with the movements of earth, moon, and sun.” 0 likes
“There is also a response, not to familiar surroundings, but to cosmic forces. Every fortnight, on the moon's quarter, a batch of eggs is fertilized and taken into the brood chamber to begin its development. And at the same time the larvae that have been made ready during the previous fortnight are expelled into the sea. By this timing-this precise synchronizing with the phases of the moon-the release of young always occurs on a neap tide, when neither the rise nor the fall of the water is of great extent, and even for so small a creature the chances of remaining within the rockweed zone are good.” 0 likes
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