Book Review by Linda McIntosh
The Wave: in pursuit of the rogues, freaks and giants of the ocean
By Susan Casey
This is not a usual area of interest for me, but Susan Casey has put together a fascinating look at the oceans of the world and the waves they produce.
She writes about several aspects of waves. The elite surfers of the world travel around the world from Hawaii to South Africa to Australia to ride the 70 to 100 feet waves. They are thrill seekers, but also so trained and knowledgeable about their sport. Casey focuses on legendary surfer Laird Hamilton from Hawaii as he scans global weather updates looking for the monster waves.
The role of the scientists that try to understand the phenomenon of immense waves is also interesting. There is growing evidence that climate change is producing more and bigger waves. The effect of waves on the huge industry of international ocean shipping is important and can be deadly for crews and ships.
Finally the tsunamis, past and current, are described and examined. The 2004 tsunami in the Pacific in 2004 killed 200,000 people, but there have been tsunamis all over the world, most with deadly consequences. There was a 1740 foot wave that leveled part of the Alaskan coast.
Included with this book are some remarkable pictures of surfers, storms and tsunamis. This book takes the reader to places most people will never see, but can visualize and understand through the book.