Located off Australia's eastern coast, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the wonders of the natural world. The diversity of life is simply incredible. It is also the ideal environment for coral, making it a diver's paradise. Indeed, some 200 million tourists visit the reef each year. Looking beyond the sheer beauty of this place, we learn, too, that it is a region rich in history, the setting for fateful shipwrecks and exotic Aboriginal myths. Australian writer Rosaleen Love explores the reef from all these angles, allowing us to see this stunning geography anew.
Part travelogue, part eco-history, Reefscape represents multiple views of the reef - through the eyes of mariners, pearl divers, naturalists, filmmakers, pirates, industrialists, and tourists alike- painting a fascinating portrait of a unique locale.
Told in a reflectively poetic voice, Love writes evocatively of the ecological, and geological significance of the reef. Woven throughout is the intriguing history of the area. This twofold approach provides a rich perspective on the reef an ecosystem as well as a natural resource for its inhabitants. By recounting both tales, Reefscape provides a window on the past and foreshadows the future of this extraordinary environment.
Reefscape will illuminate the meaning of the human encounter with nature. It will inspire delight in the imagination and spirit of all who yearn for the transcendence of turquoise waters.
"...lucidly written, fascinating, well-researched yet personal account of the natural history of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. ... Love brings the reef to life, skillfully expressing her individualistic way of knowing the reef, a way molded by personal experiences and extensive research into its history and science. The reader cannot help but appreciate and crave the beauty, awe, bliss, and thrills experienced by the author. Highly recommended."
-- CHOICE, December 2001
"Australia's Great Barrier Reef has been studied before, but Love aims to explore its meaning as it is experienced by past, present, and future groups: mariners, fishermen, and pearl shellers, Aborigines, scientists, and tourists. Love balances her historical views with personal perspective. Watching birds, she muses about the damage we do in spite of our awareness and care, and she counterposes beautiful descriptions of fauna with amounts, costs, and dates of the damage done. She strives to define her own relationship to the reef and is at her best when she matches her scholarship with her experiences, as in the chapter 'Diving for Oldies,' about the history of scuba diving and learning the sport at the age of 58."
--Library Journal, June 1, 2001
"As you sip your free drinks at Club Tropicana and contemplate a quick dip in the ocean, you may want to brush up on the pleasures and perils that await you. For pleasures, you could start with Reefscape by Rosaleen Love. ... Love is an excellent raconteuse. Her stories bring alive the colours and creatures of the reef, so you can immerse yourself in this remarkable world."
--New Scientist, July 28, 2001
"...an intriguing, lyrical narrative... Reefscape builds a powerful connection between people and nature."
--E: The Environmental Magazine, July/August 2001
"...a beautifully written book. ... What is most impressive about the book is its philosophical and spiritual qualities and poetic writing about the wonders of nature. ... The book should bring great pleasure and a deeper understanding of the significance of the Great Barrier Reef both to those who have experienced it themselves directly and to those who have only seen photographs or watched TV programs on the topic."
--Science Books & Films, July/August 2001
"Reefscape is an effective portrayal of the completeness of the Great Barrier Reef. It exhibits an in-depth understanding of the reef's inexplicable lure, ecological significance and spirituality. The author's compelling connection to the reef flows through her writing, as does her inquisitive manner. ... Her poetic writing style allows readers to envision the discrepancies between both worlds - the complicated and convoluted world of air and the mystical, unafraid world below the surface."
--Suite101.com, August 2001
"If you're planning a pilgrimage to this World Heritage Site, a secular mecca that draws millions annually, as Love points out, you'll profit from the voluminous research and the overview on the history and the inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef."
--Islands magazine, September/October 2001
"This book is a sheer delight. ... It's an unusual mix of scientific explanations, personal memoirs about diving on the reef, historical descriptions, and even a kind of psychological and spiritual analysis of why we are so fascinated by this huge living thing that is the Great Barrier Reef."
--Sian Prior's Book Reviews, ABC Melbourne
"This gripping and compelling book tells the fascinating story of reefs, people, and places, focusing on the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. Reefscape is a timeless book on a very timely topic."
--Marjorie Reaka-Kudla, Professor of Biology, University of Maryland-College Park; co-editor of Biodiversity II: Understanding and Protecting Our Biological Resources
"Each chapter is a kaleidoscope of adventures on the Great Barrier Reef, all in the company of a keen observer and a graceful writer. ... Outstanding natural history writing makes us care about the places they describe. You can't read Reefscape without caring more about this global treasure and being concerned about its future."
--Jerry R. Schubel, Ph.D., President of the New England Aquarium
"Reefscape offers an individual viewpoint and some poetic profundities. Beyond this, its worth resides in its bringing together of scientific and historical research findings in an up-to-date, graceful synthesis... I both enjoyed Reefscape and learned from it."
--Cheryl Taylor, Literature in North Queensland
"Love has clearly done significant research for this book... It is clear that Love feels a deep affection for the reef. The breadth of topics covered in this book moves readers towards sharing this affection..."
-- Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy, 2001