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Summary

Edith Widder grew up determined to become a marine biologist. But after complications from a surgery during college caused her to go temporarily blind, she became fascinated by light as well as the power of optimism. 

Below the Edge of Darkness explores the depths of the planet's oceans as Widder seeks to understand bioluminescence, one of the most important and widely used forms of communication in nature. In the process, she reveals hidden worlds and a dazzling menagerie of behaviours and animals. Alongside Widder, we experience life-and-death equipment malfunctions and witness breakthroughs in technology and understanding, all of it set against a growing awareness of the deteriorating health of our largest and least understood ecosystem.

©2021 Edith Widder (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

Critic reviews

"A book of marvels, marvellously written." (Richard Dawkins)

"Edie's story is one of hardscrabble optimism, two-fisted exploration and groundbreaking research. As I've said many times, I'd have wrapped my submersible, the Deepsea Challenger, in bacon if it would have lured the elusive giant squid from the depths. In Below the Edge of Darkness, Edie tells you how she did it." (James Cameron)

"A pioneering marine biologist takes us down into the deep ocean in this 'thrilling blend of hard science and high adventure." (The New York Times

"Edie's story is one of hardscrabble optimism, two-fisted exploration and groundbreaking research. She's done things I dream of doing." (James Cameron)

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Great Under the Sea Listen

I was surprised at just how engaging this book was. It really brought to life just how interconnected the world is. You might not think bioluminescence would be engaging but this is proof!

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So much to enjoy, scuba diver or not.

Thank you Dr Widder for this fascinating book, there is so much value in it, but I don’t want to give anything away.
What I want to say to potential listeners is, if you identify with any but not necessarily all of the following, the high likelihood is you will thoroughly enjoy this book.
You grew up watching Jacques Cousteau as did many of my generation in the UK, on a black and white television trying to imagine the colours.
You spent the summer holidays launching yourself from an imaginary Calypso into an imaginary ocean, to be surrounded by all the wonders in the waters below.
You wanted to be a marine biologist - only to realise whilst swimming in the sea that you really weren’t keen on not being able to have your feet touch the bottom.
You used your first full time pay packet to rent a colour television to be able to share the glorious sight of all that underwater colour with your widowed mother (ok that experience may not be quite so widespread).
You enjoyed every BBC wildlife documentary, but the life in the water episodes were the ones you especially looked forward to and didn’t want to end.
You have an interest in science and engineering and a desire to be informed - with or with out formal education in those fields.
You love to hear stories from people who’s ideas, trials, adversities and successes, led them to be who they are and the fulfilment they gained.
One of your joys in life is to watch the fish in your garden pond; with the naturally home bred generations varying in size and colour, from beautiful browns and nearly black through mixtures of reds and blues to the palest pink with spots.
Or maybe your life is full of scuba diving and fresh water swimming and cool stuff like that - in which case you will probably also enjoy this book from another perspective.
Basically this book is a joy in itself.
Thank you Edith, I think I can now call you that, as we come to the end of our journey together. For me it could have carried on, but thank you and I want you to know we will meet again as I’m also buying the hard copy of this book, to enjoy the journey again as summer reading - 50 years or more after my Calypso adventures.