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The Remarkable Life of William Beebe: Explorer and Naturalist
When William Beebe needed to know what was going on in the depths of the ocean, he had himself lowered a half-mile down in a four-foot steel sphere to see-five times deeper than anyone had ever gone in the 1930s. When he wanted to trace the evolution of pheasants in 1910, he trekked on foot through the mountains and jungles of the Far East to locate every species. To decip ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published September 25th 2006 by Island Press
(first published November 9th 2004)
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What a fascinating person! I am astonished I had never heard of William Beebe before this book. Why is it Darwin, Cousteau and Neil Armstrong are household names, yet the first person to explore the depths of the ocean in the blathysphere is unknown to me? Beebe was unique among the scientists of his day, he insisted on studying organisms in their environment (ethology), while others took a reductive approach. If you like books about scientists, explorers and history, you will likely enjoy this ...more
What an incredible life. His biography has something of interest for nearly everyone -- birds, bugs, monkeys, marine biology, writing, life at tropical field stations, tragic marriages . . . as a grad student, it was also nice to have a reminder that even some of the biggest names in the history of science have had trouble keeping a steady stream of funding. Reading this book kind of gave me the itch to be back out in the field; Gould does a great job of making you just as excited about Beebe's ...more
Beautifully written account of the life of someone I hadn't heard of, and that is one William Beebe. The first naturalist, animal behaviourist and a slew of other firsts. The whole of the life sciences as they are in their present form was created by him. A true original and not a word of darkness or tragedy about him. Indeed, he seemed to be regular good guy who enjoyed life. Great read.
Jun 10, 2006 Annette rated it it was amazing · review of another edition
Drawing on a lifetime of Beebe's journals, Gould has created a comprehensive, yet easy-to-read biography of this fascinating naturalist. I was amazed that a person who had such an impact in this field isn't more widely known.