Jacques-Yves Cousteau Robert C. Cowen - Essay

Robert C. Cowen

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Reading Jacques-Yves Cousteau's captivating new book ["The Living Sea"], I had a strong impulse to hand in this review and immediately take off to find Calypso. From this, his oceangoing research ship, the famed French undersea explorer has helped to open a fascinating and challenging underwater world.

Some academic oceanographers have found it fashionable to discount his exploits. But the years of effort that have been compressed into the pages of this book speak for themselves of the great contribution Captain Cousteau has made to oceanographic science.

He would himself lay no claim to being a scientific expert. Yet from the aqualung to his most recent innovation of the diving saucer, a jet propelled submarine, which will carry two men comfortably to depths of 1,000 feet, he has done as much if not more than any other contemporary marine explorer to open the way to a new opportunity for undersea research.

In "The Living Sea," as in his earlier best seller "The Silent World," Captain Cousteau conveys the sense of adventure and the vision that continue to inspire his work. Perhaps the most striking comparison between the two books is that the enthusiasm has not flagged at all while the vision has greatly matured.

Captain Cousteau has always seen his work as an advancement of men's capabilities as well as a personal adventure. He has never been content to rest at one level of...

(The entire section is 465 words.)