Charles Clover

Up To Our Necks

Ocean of Life: How Our Seas Are Changing

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Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 389pp £25 order from our bookshop

The World’s Beaches: A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline

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University of California Press 283pp £19.95 order from our bookshop
 

It is only really in the past decade that science has begun to tell us that the man-made changes now occurring in the oceans – from acidification to overfishing to the growth of dead zones – represent some of the greatest threats to life on Earth. There has been a need for a book that sets our current predicament in the context of previous changes in ocean chemistry and periods of extinctions. I was once nearly persuaded to write one. I’m glad I didn’t, for Callum Roberts has clearly done a better job than I would have.

Roberts is that rare thing, a practising scientist who can write clearly and fluently, and use a well-researched example to explain something you had previously only dimly understood. To be able to unravel so many complexities is impressive. When

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