Review Blog

Mar 31 2014

The Reef: A Passionate History by Iain McCalman

cover image

Viking 2013. ISBN 9780670075775.
Highly recommended for senior students and staff. This book is divided into 12 main chapters, each describing key individuals, either Western explorers, scientists, Indigenous peoples and castaways, or romantic beachcombers, artists and divers, who have played a part in revealing the true nature of the Great Barrier Reef. Beginning with the exciting tale of Captain Cook and the stressful navigation of a pathway through razor ledges of coral, and ending with the amazing work of the contemporary scientist, Charlie Vernon, McCalman gives deep insights into the minds and imaginations of his participants as well as the context in which they lived their lives.
I really liked the way the author delved into the motivations of his subjects such as Willam Kent the 19th century scientist whose studies of the reef were the result of his attempts to escape from his past. Also, the story of Charlie Vernon's life would be an inspiration for any young science student. More importantly, McCalman has written lucidly and enthusiastically, about the scientific theory behind coral reef evolution and marine science, the spirtual importance of the reef, the history of the Queensland conservation movement and the causes of coral mass extinction.
A key reason for the author's passion and conviction in writing the Great Barrier Reef's history is that it is like the 'canary in the coal mine', warning us of the need to be its protectors in the face of future catastrophe from climate change.
The book includes, a map, photographs, notes, bibliography and an index. Hardback copy 398 pages. Information is available at the author's site.
Paul Pledger

Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
Miles Franklin longlist 2017
Reading Children's Book Prize 2017
Klaus Flugge Prize shortlist 2017
Branford Boase Award shortlist 2017
Text Prize 2017
NSW Premier Literary Awards shortlist 2017
Aurealis Awards winners
YABBA Awards shortlist 2017
Stella Prize 2017
2017 YALSA Teens' Top Ten Nominees
CBCA shortlists 2017
YA Book Prize 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Bookmark and poster templates