A classic work of nature and humanity, by renowned writer Peter Matthiessen , author of the National Book Award winning The Snow Leopard and the new novel In Paradise National Book Award winning author Peter Matthiessen takes readers on an expedition to find the most dangerous predator on Earth the legendary great white shark On a trek that lastsmonths and takes him from the Caribbean to the whaling grounds off South Africa, and across the Indian Ocean to the South Australian coast, Matthiessen describes the awesome experience of swimming in open water among hundreds of sharks the beauties of strange seas and landscapes and the camaraderie, tension, humor, and frustrations that develop when people continually risking their lives dwell in close proximity day after day Filled with acute observations of natural history in exotic areas around the world, Blue Meridian records a harrowing account of one of the great adventures of our time This book had lay on my shelf for some time This year being the 90th birthday of Stan Waterman, one of the books main protoganists, and the death this year of Ron Taylor, another major character in the book I was prompted to finally crack it open The book details the search for the mysterious Great White Shark by an expedition during the 1970 s The story is a true adventure, as very little was know about this animal during the time The book is also a great representation of politics during This book had lay on my shelf for some time This year being the 90th birthday of Stan Waterman, one of the books main protoganists, and the death this year of Ron Taylor, another major character in the book I was prompted to finally crack it open The book details the search for the mysterious Great White Shark by an expedition during the 1970 s The story is a true adventure, as very little was know about this animal during the time The book is also a great representation of politics during the time period Side plots deal with whaling still legal at the time and the apartheid system which the team encounters when they visit South Africa All the characters in the book would go on to be major explorers of the undersea world in the future It is a shame that as the years pass, we lose these incredible personalities I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys adventure travel writing, in particular undersea adventure A great book For the shark book completist There are surprisingly few narrative works out there about sharks as opposed to handbooks, textbooks, conservation guides, coffee table photo books, etc all great but not exactly filled with story appeal so a work by Matthiessen is something to notice It s dated now, both in terms of its actual facts some of its shark lore we now know to be wrong, Prince Edward Island is not in New Brunswick unless I have gone insane and its social cultural take on things a For the shark book completist There are surprisingly few narrative works out there about sharks as opposed to handbooks, textbooks, conservation guides, coffee table photo books, etc all great but not exactly filled with story appeal so a work by Matthiessen is something to notice It s dated now, both in terms of its actual facts some of its shark lore we now know to be wrong, Prince Edward Island is not in New Brunswick unless I have gone insane and its social cultural take on things apartheid rates a passing mention as a poor system of government, the lone woman diver on board the ship cooks for the men without raising an eyebrow but in some other respects is pretty all right Matthiessen mourns the fact that the Norwegian, Russian, and Japanese whaling industries are eradicating whales and other sea creatures while catching a ride with the Norwegians and he writes gorgeously and vividly about seeing sharks in the wild But overall this has the feel of a lesser work, marred by a macho, entitled worldview that isn t flaunted Matthiessen is too classy for that but that underpins the whole enterprise The voyage he s part of is ostensibly a cultural or research expedition undertaken by a playboy millionaire adventurer, which is nonetheless a transparent effort to win fame and approval by getting underwater footage of the BIGGEST sharks, BIGGER than Cousteau s Folly, and Matthiessen must have known it, but he went along for the ride and wrote this little book, which documentsdays spent futilely searching for sharks than actually encountering them Eventually they do meet up, and late in the book there s a jarring moment when he mentions that one of his fellow divers, a mild mannered Australian, kills as many sharks as he can whenever he s in the water He slits their bellies open with his diving knife, because sharks have attacked two of his friends, killing at least one It s a horrifying example of vengeful privilege and it passes without comment or reflection Matthiessen is an accomplished writer but this is a shallow work Peter Mathiessen Blue Meridian The Search for the Great White Shark provides as useful antidote to the excesses of both sides of the debate Mathiessen is one of our great nature writers and an environmentalist from the days before it became fashionable Peter Gimble invited him along on a trip to South African waters to see if they could get some film footage of great whites from the inside of free floating aluminum cages The plan was to follow whaling ships out of Durban who, after harpooni Peter Mathiessen Blue Meridian The Search for the Great White Shark provides as useful antidote to the excesses of both sides of the debate Mathiessen is one of our great nature writers and an environmentalist from the days before it became fashionable Peter Gimble invited him along on a trip to South African waters to see if they could get some film footage of great whites from the inside of free floating aluminum cages The plan was to follow whaling ships out of Durban who, after harpooning the whale, inflate them with air so they will float and can be towed into shore later On occasions when many sharks have been present, attracted by the blood, a frenzy has erupted that, after six or seven hours, might leave only the backbone C carcharias has a fearsome reputation In Australia the great white is known as the death and numerous documented accounts exist of them attacking small skiffs and dories A good friend of one of the divers on Gimble s trip had been bitten in half by a great white His diver companion had hauled the top half back to shore where he took some photographs which could never be sold because of their gruesome nature before reporting the incident One great white that had been harpooned by a whale boat had a jaw measuring a vertical opening of three feet While in South Africa, the team experienced the lunacy of apartheid Two shipmates from the Cape who had been hired to work on their boat were formally classified as by the South African government, but they were light enough to pass as white and often went to European bars where they were rarely challenged On one evening they were accompanied by the second engineer who looked so black that he was told to leave even though he was officially classified as white but he had forgotten his card that proved it In other words, this weird classification of human beings isn t even efficient, so that in the end all the dull cruelty it has meant for millions will have been in vain A good enough story of expedition chasing after great white sharks, but rather pedestrian and narrow in focus compared to M s classic The Snow Leopard.