Recommended Reading

The library of the ocean is as vast and complex as the sea itself. What follows are several recommendations by our editors. To recommend a title for inclusion, please let us know.  


New Additions (May 2023)

The Blue Commons, Rescuing the Economy of the Sea by Guy Standing (Penguin Random House Canada, Duke University Press, 2023)

A Blue New Deal: Why We Need a New Politics for the Ocean by Chris Armstrong (Blackstone Publishing, 2022)

In Search of First Contact: The Vikings of Vinland, the Peoples of the Dawnland, and the Anglo-American Anxiety of Discovery by Annette Kolodny (Duke University Press, 2012)

Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste: Consensus Study Report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (National Academies Press, 2022)

Below the Edge of Darkness: A Memoir of Exploring Light and Life in the Deep Sea by Edith Widder, Ph.D ( Random House, 2022)

Fresh Water

On Time and Water
by Andri Snaer Magnason (Open Letter March 23, 2021)

Troubled Water: What's Wrong With What We Drink?
by Seth Siegel (Thomas Dunne Books October 1, 2019)

Urban Water Security, Challenges in Water Management by Robert C. Brears (Wiley, 2016)

Blue Mind: How Water Makes You Happier, More Connected and Better at What You Do by Wallace J. Nichols (Abacus, 2018)

The Once and Future Ocean: Notes on a New Hydraulic Society by Peter Neill (Leetes Island Books, 2016)

The End of Abundance: Economic Solutions to Water Scarcity by David Zetland (Aguanomics Press 2011)

Let There Be Water by Seth Siegel (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015)

Water Rights and Social Justice in the Mekong Region Edited by Kate Lazarus, Nathan Badenoch, Nga Dao and Bernadette P. Resurreccion (Earthscan Publications Ltd, London 2011)

Making the Most of the Water We Have The Soft Path Approach to Water Management Edited By David B. Brooks, Oliver M. Brandes and Stephen Gurman (Earthscan Publications Ltd., London 2011)

The Right to Water: Politics, Governance, and Social Struggles edited by Farhana Sultana & Alex Loftus (Routeledge, 2011)

Water Resources by Shimon Anisfeld (Island Press, Washington D.C. 2010)

The Water Atlas: A Unique Visual Analysis of the World's Most Critical Resource by Robin Clarke and Janet King (The New Press, New York 2004)

From Source Water to Drinking Water, edited by Lawrence Reiter, Henry Falk, Charles Groat and Christine M. Coussens (The National Academy Press, Washington, DC 2004)

Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water
by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke (New Press, New York 2002)

Blue Mind: How Water Makes You Happier, More Connected and Better at What You Do by Wallace J. Nichols (Abacus, 2018)

Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit by Vandana Shiva (South End Press, Cambridge, MA. 2002)

Water: the Fate of our Most Precious Resource by Marq de Villiers (Houghton Mifflin, Boston 2001)

Every Drop for Sale: Our Desperate Battle over Water in a World about to Run Out by Jeffrey Rothfeder (Penguin Putnam, New York 2001) 


Four Fish by Paul Greenberg (Penguin Group, New York, 2010)

Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the Sea by Callum Roberts (Penguin Group, New York, 2012)

Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood by Taras Grescoe (Bloomsbury, New York, 2008)

Sustainable Sushi: A Guide to Saving the Oceans One Bite at a Time
by Casson Trenor (North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, 2009)

Climate and Global Warming

The Atlas of Disappearing Places: Our Coasts and Oceans in the Climate Crisis
by Christina Conklin, Marina Psaros and Lawrence Susskind (The New Press, 2021)

Rescuing the Planet: Protecting Half the Land to Heal the Earth
by Tony Hiss (Knopf March 30, 2021)

The Archipelago of Hope: Wisdom and Resilience from the Edge of Climate Change by Gleb Raygorodotsky (Pegasus Books, New York, 2017)

Nature's Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age by Mary Christina Wood (Cambridge University Press, 2013)

Eaarth by Bill McKibben (St. Martin's Griffin, 2011)

Journey Into Climate: Adventure, The Golden Age of Climate Research, and the Unmasking of Human Innocence by Paul Andrew Mayewski & Michael Cope Morrison (A Dauntless Press, 2011)

High Tide on Main Street. Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis by John Englander (The Science Bookshelf, 2012)

Climate, Culture, Change: Inuit and Western Dialogues with a Warming North by Timothy B Leduc (University of Ottowa Press, 2011)

The Coming Storm: Extreme Weather And Our Terrifying Future by Bob Reiss (Diane Pub Co, 2004)

Reading the Skies: A Short History of English Weather by Vladimir Jankovic (Manchester University Press, University of Chicago Press, Chicago 2000)

The Long Summer by Brian Fagan (Basic Books, 2004)

Collapse by Jared Diamond (Penguin Group, 2005)

Field Notes from a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert (Bloomsbury Publishing, London 2006)

The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006)

The Atlas of Coasts and Oceans: Ecosystems, Threatened Resources, Marine Conservation by Don Hinrichsen (University of Chicago Press, 2011)

Ocean Policy, Economics, Zoning and Management

Soul of the Sea in the Age of the Algorithm: How Tech Startups Can Heal Our Oceans by Gregory Stone and Nishan Degnarain (Leetes Island Books, 2017)

The Ocean: Our Future by Independent Commission on the Ocean, edited by Mario Soares (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK 1998)

Defying Ocean's End: An Agenda for Action, edited Linda K. Glover and Sylvia A. Earle (Island Press, Washington, DC 2004)

Oceans 2020: Science, Trends, and the Challenge of Sustainability, edited by John G. Field, Gotthilf Hempel, and Colin P. Summerhayes (Island Press, Washington, DC 2002)

Ocean Zoning, Making Marine Management More Effective  by Tundi Agardy (Earthscan Publications Ltd., London 2010)

Maritime Culture

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick (Penguin Books,  London, 2001)

Maritime America by Peter Neill (Mystic Seaport Museum, 1988)

The Sea and Civilization: A Maritime History of the World by Lincoln Paine (Vintage Books, New York, 2015)

Biomedical Research

From Monsoons to Microbes: Understanding the Ocean's Role in Human Health (National Research Council, Washington, DC. 1999) 

Oceans and Human Health: Risk and Remedies from the Seas by Walsh, Smith, Fleming, Solo-Gabriele and Gerwick (Elsevier, London 2008)


The Sea Around Us by Rachael Carson (Oxford University Press, New York 1950)

The Silent World by Jacques-Yves Cousteau (Harper & Row, New York 1953)

The Mirror of the Sea by Joseph Conrad (The Marlboro Press, Marlboro, VT 1988)

The Sea Wolf by Jack London (Dover-Thrift, Mineola, NY, 2000)

Sail the Book: Maritime Literature in Google Earth presented by Ira Bickoff

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne ( June 1870)

General Reference

Coriolis: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Maritime Studies. A publication of the National Maritime Digital Library

The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss by Claire Nouvian (University of Chicago Press, Chicago 2007)

The Encyclopedia Of The Earth: Oceans and Islands by Dr. Frank H. Talbot and Robert E. Stevenson, Consultant Editors (Weldon Owen, Inc, San Francisco, CA 1991)

Exploring the Ocean by Trevor Day (Oxford University Press, New York 2003)

Ocean by Robert Dinwiddie and Louise Thomas (DK Adult, 2006)

The Oceans Atlas - A Pictoral Atlas of the World's Oceans by Anita Ganeri (Dorling Kindersley, New York 1994)

Ocean Planet, Writings and Images of the Sea, by Peter Benchley (Abrams Co, New York 1995)

Song for the Blue Ocean by Carl Safina (Henry Holt & Co, New York 1990)

Great Waters: An Atlantic Passage by Deborah Cramer (W.W. Norton, New York 2001)

Marine Science

The Lure of the Beach: A Global History
by Robert C. Ritchie (University of California Press, May 11, 2021)

Seaweed Chronicles, A World at the Water's Edge by Susan Hand Shetterly (Algonquin Books, 2018)

The Brilliant Abyss: Exploring the Majestic Hidden Life of the Deep Ocean,
and the Looming Threat That Imperils It

by Helen Scales (Atlantic Monthly Press, July 6, 2021)

Tides and the Ocean: Water's Movement Around the World, from Waves to Whirlpools by William H. Thomson (Hachette Book Group, 2018)

Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean by Jonathan White (Trinity University Press, Texas, 2017)

The Edge of an Unfamiliar World: A History of Oceanography by Susan Schlee
(E.P. Dutton, New York, 1973)

Exploring the Ocean World: A History of Oceanography edited by C.P. Idyll
(Thomas Y. Crowell Co., New York, 1972)

Introduction to the World's Oceans by Alyn Duxbury, Alison Duxbury and Keith Sverdrup (sixth edition, McGraw-Hill, Boston 2000)

Oceanographers and the Cold War: Disciples of Marine Science by Jacob Darwin Hamblin (University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 2005)

Oceanographic History: The Pacific and Beyond. Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress on the History of Oceanography, Scripps, 1993 edited by Keith R. Benson and Philip F. Rehbock (University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 2002)

Oceanography: A View of the Earth by M. Grant Gross (Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 1977)

Scientists and the Sea, 1650-1900: A Study of Marine Science by Margaret Deacon (London and New York: Academic Press, 1971).

The Sea Knows No Boundaries: A Century of Marine Science under ICES [International Council for the Exploration of the Sea] by Helen Rozwadowski (University of Washington Press, Seattle and London, 2002)

Sea Legs: Tales of a Woman Oceanographer by Kathleen Crane (Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado 2003)

Marine Life

War of the Whales: A True Story by Joshua Horwitz (Simon & Schuster, July 2014)

The Book of Honu: Enjoying and Learning About Hawaii's Sea Turtles by Peter Bennett; Ursula Keuper-Bennett (University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu,  2008)


Frozen Latitudes: A Photographic Tribute to the Beauty of the High Arctic
by Christoph Ruhsam (Seltmann + Soehne, 2018)

Images from a Warming Planet: One Man's Mission to Document Climate Change Around the World by Ashley Cooper (Ashley Cooper/Global Warming Images Publishing, 2016)

Ocean by Philip Plisson, text by Cristian Buchet, captions by Anne Jankeliowitch (Thames & Hudson, London 2006) English version of La Mer

Pecheurs d'images by Philip Plisson and Guillaume Plisson (Editions du Chêne, Paris 2000)

Oceans by Sue Hostetler (Rizzoli International Publications, 2002)

Water by Hans Silvester, Bernard Fischesser, Marie-France Depuis-Tate (Thames & Hudson, London 2001)

Spirit of the Sea by Marie-France Boyer (Thames & Hudson, London 2003)

Adventure and Expedition

Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves by James Nestor (Eamon Dolan/Mariner Books, 2015)

Expedition Deep Ocean: The First Descent to the Bottom of All Five Oceans by Josh Young (Pegasus Books, 2020)

The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier
by Ian Urbina (Knopf August 20, 2019)

Finding North: How Navigation Makes Us Human
by George Michelsen Foy (Flatiron Books, 2016)

Expedition Deep Ocean: The First Decent to the Bottom of All Five Oceans
by Josh Young (Pegasus Books, December 1, 2020)

The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition
by Caroline Alexander (Knopf, November 3, 1998)


Magazines & Journals

Many popular magazines and scholarly journals are important presenters of maritime history. While many of these have not archived their back issues on the Internet, their websites typically list a comprehensive table of contents and are excellent sources for individual profiles, design histories, construction methods, and historical descriptions and analyses. Here we list many of the most familiar maritime publications in English and French.

World Ocean Journal
WOJ is a digital magazine published by the World Ocean Observatory. The Journal highlights ocean culture, ocean issues and solutions to some of the problems facing the ocean today. Each volume original and pre-published research arcticles and essays, interviews, art, exhibits, stories, and performances which profile some of the vital impacts of the ocean on our lives.

Sirene Journal
Sirene is "a new magazine tailored for those people who feel close to the sea even when they are far away from it." Based in the UK, Sirene is available in Italian and English.

Revitalization News
A journal of urban, rural and environmental resilience offering opportunities and resources for regenerating economies, heritage, agriculture and nature. Revitalization News is a place for representaives of academia, non-profits, foundations, business and government from around the world to come together to focus on creating a healthier, more prosperous and resilient future.

Hakai Magazine
Hakai Magazine explores science, society, and the environment from a coastal perspective. The magazine is funded by the Tula Foundation, which also funds the Hakai Institute, but remains editorially independent.

Salty at Heart
Salty at Heart features female scientists, authors, film-makers, humanitarians, and change-makers who are making a difference in the world. The mission is to inspire sustainability and equality worldwide.

Seven Seas Magazine
Promoting marine conservation through community engagement, online media, and eco-tourism, Seven Seas Magazine is striving to inspire and educate readers about marine conservation through great photos and engaging content.

World Ocean Review
The World Ocean Review series is published by Maribus, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising public awareness of the correlative relationships in marine science. The purpose of World Ocean Review is to present scientific data accessible by any reader, serving all who wish to engage in the debate on the issues surrounding marine science.

National Maritime Digital Library
The overall mission of the Digital Library is to collect, preserve and make accessible maritime resources from a variety of different institutions, in electronic format, thereby promoting maritime cultural heritage scholarship.

International Journal of Maritime History
The International Journal of Maritime History is a fully-refereed publication for researchers concerned with the economic and social history of the merchant marines, shipbuilding, fishing, ports, trade and maritime societies. (By subscription, full index and recent tables of contents available online)

Coriolis: Interdisciplinary Journal of Maritime Studies
Named for the prevailing global force that shapes human maritime experience, Coriolis offers scholars and serious researchers a refereed forum in which to disseminate work on human interaction with the seas. We define “maritime” broadly to include direct and indirect influences on human relationships through the fields of history, literature, art, nautical archaeology, material culture, and environmental studies. (Open access.)

American Neptune
This excellent maritime history journal has suspended publication; copies are not available online, but sample issues are at the website and it is held by many libraries. Selected articles were published in Thirty Years of the American Neptune, edited by Ernest S. Dodge (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1972)

Classic Boat
Britain's monthly traditional classic boating magazine available in print and by digital edition.

Chasse Maree (in French)
Chasse Marée aims to revitalize a true maritime culture by focusing on all aspects of coastal life and tradition, past and present: commerce, fisheries, pleasure boating, life alongshore, everyday life of mariners, historic events, work at sea, boatbuilding, and naval architecture.

Sea History
Sea History is a journal of advocacy and education, covering the world of maritime museums, sail training, art, literature, lore, and learning of the sea with a national focus and an international scope. Sea History Magazine is published quarterly by the National Maritime Historical Society and carries stories on ships and the sea both past and present.

Maritime LIfe and Traditions
A quarterly publication dedicated to marine culture, ships, yachts, boats, sailing, history, art, industries, fishing, crafts, news, events, and festivals. Published 1998-spring 2007; Issues #1-34 available through the WoodenBoat Store.

To make a suggestion for any of the aformentioned catagories, please contact us.