Read the log from the sea of cortez by John Steinbeck Online

the-log-from-the-sea-of-cortez

Today, nearly forty years after his death, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures. Over the next year, his many works published as black-spine Penguin Classics for the first time and will feature eye-catching, newly commissioned art. Penguin Classics is proud to present these seminal works to a new generation of reToday, nearly forty years after his death, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck remains one of America's greatest writers and cultural figures. Over the next year, his many works published as black-spine Penguin Classics for the first time and will feature eye-catching, newly commissioned art. Penguin Classics is proud to present these seminal works to a new generation of readers—and to the many who revisit them again and again....

Title : the log from the sea of cortez
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 386784
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 288 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

the log from the sea of cortez Reviews

  • Joe Valdez
    2018-11-26 11:10

    On March 11, 1940, John Steinbeck and his good friend, the marine biologist Ed Ricketts (who served as Steinbeck's inspiration for the character of "Doc" in Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday) cast off from Monterey Bay with a chartered crew of four aboard a 75-foot purse seiner christened the Western Flyer. Their makeshift expedition made way for the Gulf of California. Or, as the narration goes, "Once it was called the Sea of Cortez, and that is a better-sounding and a more exciting name. We stopped in many little harbors and near barren coasts to collect and preserve the marine invetrebraes of the littoral."The expedition concluded on April 20, 1940 and the following year, Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research was published on the heels of Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Grapes of Wrath. The book consisted of Ricketts' log, based on notes he took on the voyage and that Steinbeck edited, as well as an appendix that Ricketts compiled with photographs and drawings of specimens. Ricketts would be killed in 1948 three days after a passenger train struck his car in Monterey. To honor his friend's memory, Steinbeck republished the book as The Log from the Sea of Cortez in 1951, removing the appendix and adding a preface dedicated to his friend.If Ricketts or Steinbeck only published Sea of Cortez, they'd have contributed more to marine biology, geography and the humanities than most. As recently as 1940, the Gulf of California had been documented with only varying degrees of accuracy; the work of an 18th century Jesuit priest named Clavigero rates higher in Ricketts' esteem than the Coast Pilot, the maritime guidebook he begrudges for its "austere tone." There was no sonar, no satellite imagery. Photographic records were poor. Communication along Lower California was primitive. Ricketts and Steinbeck sailed one of the most dangerous bodies of water in the world for a month (albeit the month of calmest seas) with less technology than I'm using to write this book review. Though my mother might get a dizzy spell to see me admit this (she's a retired science teacher), the scientific passages of the book were ones that my eyes tended to glaze over. Crustaceans and other invetrebraes are simply not fascinating subject matter for me to read about. They may be for you. The marine biology portions of the book are far from dense or jargon-filled and do have a pleasant knack for appealing to the ten-year-old explorer in all of us. Many of the classifications simply started to pass by my eyes like something Willy Wonka would make up during a tour of the Chocolate Factory. We found extremely large sponges, a yellow form (probably Cliona), superficially resembling the Monterey Lissodendoryx noxiosa, and a white one, Steletta, of the wicked spines. There were brilliant-orange nudibranchs, giant terebellid worms, some shell-less air-breathing (pulmonate) snails, a ribbon-worm, and a number of solitary corals. These were common animals and the ones in which we were most interested, for while we took rarities when we came upon them in normal observation, our interest lay in the large groups and their associations--the word "association" implying a biological assemblage, all the animals in a given habitat.Initially, the boats that Ricketts and Steinbeck attempt to charter in Monterey Bay are owned by Italian, Slav or Japanese sardine fishermen uneasy about anything not related to fishing. The Western Flyer proves game. Her captain, Tony Berry, is intelligent and tolerant. "He was willing to let us do any crazy thing we wanted so long as we (1) paid a fair price, (2) told him where to go, (3) did not insist that he endanger the boat, (4) got back on time, and (5) didn't mix him up in our nonsense." The rest of the crew consists of "Tex" Travis, the engineer, who demonstrates an aversion to sharing dish washing duties, and two able seamen, "Sparky" Enea and "Tiny" Colletto, who "grew up together in Monterey and they were bad little boys and very happy about it."The highlights of Sea of Cortez for me were Ricketts' picturesque accounts of his experiences in the Gulf, which transported me to that place and time. I was reminded of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness in the sense that the further the boat travels, the further back in time it seems to travel. In ports of call like Cape San Lucas, the Western Flyer is welcomed with pomp by authorities as if the shrimper was the Queen Mary. In La Paz, little boys swarm the deck once word gets out that gringos are throwing away money on worthless sea creatures. In Puetro Escondido, a rancher invites the crew on a hunting trip with Indian guides in which no hunting takes place. In Loreto, a little boy takes them on a tour.This small boy could have been an ambassador to almost any country in the world. His straight-seeing dark eyes were courteous, yet firm. He was kind and dignified. He told us something of Loreto; of its poverty, and how its church was tumbled down now; and he walked with us to the destroyed mission. The roof had fallen in and the main body of the church was a mass of rubble. From the walls hung the shreds of old paintings. But the bell-tower was intact, and we wormed our way deviously up to look at the old bells and to strike them softly with the palms of our hands so that they glowed a little with tone.I can imagine that the only thing grander than Ricketts and Steinbeck exploring the Sea of Cortez for a month was editing Sea of Cortez. Even though Steinbeck refused to take any credit whatsoever for the log, I was able to connect this book with the travelogue Steinbeck wrote twenty years later, Travels with Charley: In Search of America. While that book was about a successful author trying to rediscover the country he'd been writing about from the comfort of his home in Long Island and autumnal in tone, Sea of Cortez is full of spring's youthful vigor, of living in the present, exploring the flora and fauna of Old Mexico with your best friend and other men.My list of John Steinbeck books ranked from favorite to least favorite:1. East of Eden (1952)2. The Grapes of Wrath (1939)3. Sweet Thursday (1954)4. Of Mice and Men (1937)5. The Wayward Bus (1947)6. Tortilla Flat (1935)7. The Winter of Our Discontent (1961)8. Cannery Row (1945)9. Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research (1941)10. Travels with Charley: In Search of America (1962)11. The Pastures of Heaven (1932)

  • Sarah
    2018-11-17 05:05

    Do you ever catch yourself smiling like an idiot when you're reading something pleasurable? Well, my smile muscles hurt. The log begins with an introduction Steinbeck wrote, "About Ed Ricketts," after his travel companion from the journey chronicled here died. It's gorgeous! What an fascinating man he was!! I had just read Cannery Row, and Ricketts inspired the character of Doc, so I was happy to learn about him, or at least what could be related to me in 50 pages or so. Steinbeck mentions that after his death, the people of Cannery Row tried to define him. Of those he heard, half-Christ and half-goat was the description that he liked best. There really needs to be a movie about Steinbeck and Ricketts. Someone do that. It would be so lushly beautiful, whether they're communing over (many) beers in Doc's laboratory in Monterey, or sailing into shallow wade pools along the Gulf of Mexico or having one of their four-day long parties, where nobody went to bed except for "romantic purposes." I know that there is a movie version of Cannery Row, but it wouldn't have John Steinbeck in it. And it wouldn't have this trip in it! No, Steinbeck says in the introduction that Ricketts was his closest friend for eighteen years. I want to watch them being friends. An essential scene would be when they were allowed onto a large commercial Japanese shrimping dredge in Mexico that, to Steinbeck and Ricketts' horror, simply scraped the ocean floor of absolutely every speck of life, then dumped everything that wasn't shrimp, now lifeless, back into the bay. Ricketts and Steinbeck stared at vast collection of fish, sharks, anemones, rays, corals and seahorses being tossed back into the sea for the gulls. All that knowledge, all that food, wasted! An entire ecosystem wiped out. And, in true form to the way Steinbeck honors even the most miserable lech in his fiction, he loved these men working on the Japanese shrimping dredge! Loved them! He said, "they were good men, but they were caught in a large, destructive machine, good men doing a bad thing." He promised to send them a fine volume of crustacean biology when he returned to Monterey. The missing star is only absent because, after reading the introduction, I expected the same intimate, personal style to be woven into the log, throughout, and it wasn't really so. It was still a narrative, and many of their adventures and conversations and struggles were described, but just not in the same casual manner. I know this wasn't that sort of book, but god, it could have been! Okay, I already feel guilty being (just a titch) fussy about this, because what this book is is just great. I'll stop being a whiner. I just wanted more Doc. In the intro I learned that Ricketts had such an affection for marine worms that he called girls he liked (and there were many), "wormy" as a term of endearment. So you can see why I wanted more. Now, you like Steinbeck, but are still unsure if you want to read this nonfiction account of tide pool specimen-gathering? Here is how you will know for sure that it is for you. Do you love lists of captivating and beautiful and sexy-as-hell, sciency words? Do you smile like an drooling moron when reading them? I sure did. Here is just one of the many lists describing some of their catches to help you decide: "One huge, magnificent murex snail...so camouflaged with little plants, corallines, and other algae that it could not be told from the reef itself...rock oysters were there, and oysters; limpets and sponges; corals of two types; peanut worms; sea-cucumbers, and many crabs, particularly some disguised in dresses of growing algae...many worms, including our enemy Eurythoe, which stings so badly. The coral clusters were violently inhabited by snapping shrimps, red smooth crabs and little fuzzy black and white spider crabs." And don't think that it's all lists and clinical talk! He had a way of finishing off each chapter with a lucid and dreamy bit of philosophy or reflection: "This little trip of ours was becoming a thing and a dual thing, with collecting and eating and sleeping merging with the thinking-speculating activity. Quality of sunlight, blueness and smoothness of water, boat engines, and ourselves were all parts of a larger whole and we could begin to feel its nature but not its size." Another chapter ends with his defense of drunkenness, another with a defense of laziness and another with a cry about the depletion of our natural resources and another with the beauty of scooping fish while you sail and dropping them directly into a pan of hot oil, eating hundred of the delicious and salty things with friends in the moonlight. This book is just so pretty. If you don't watch out, Steinbeck will make you love the world.Sarah Montambo Powell

  • Ken-ichi
    2018-12-11 05:07

    I'm not sure I've ever read another book that was so full of life, in every sense of the word. Steinbeck and Ricketts portray an existence and a philosophy that seem impossibly engaged, impossibly full, and it isn't long before you're there on the boat beside them, a can of beer in one hand and a dip net in the other, peering into blue shallows in search of strange and beautiful creatures.It's bohemian (two guys charter a boat to go tidepooling around the Gulf of California, mostly for the hell of it), but rigorous (specimens are tediously labeled, filed, described). Despite one of them being a professional in the strictest sense, both Ricketts and Steinbeck are the best kind of amateurs, seeking knowledge and adventure for the pure joy and love they find in them. They're driven by a mission to describe the fauna of a relatively unexplored region, but that drive never consumes or defines them, or keeps them from swilling beer and philosophizing. Their humor and presence in their journey brought as much pleasure to read and inhabit as any escapist fantasy I can imagine.The introduction breaks that fantasy a bit, describing how Steinbeck developed the book from journals that were not his own, and the complete omission of Steinbeck's wife Carol, who also sailed with them. Then again, the intro and Steinbeck's euology to Ricketts provide a realistic backdrop that grounds and encapsulates the joy of the trip, making it seem more attainable, and more true. You can never live aboard the Western Flyer, but you can always seek those kinds of moments.

  • BrokenTune
    2018-12-04 09:14

    Late, late in the night we recalled that Horace says fried shrimps and African snails will cure a hangover. Neither was available.I called a stop to this @ 63%. I skim read to the end to see if the log ever changes into something that has a structure - or a point.It may be that I am not in the right mood for this book, but from everything I have read, I get the impression that to be in the right frame of mind to read this book I would have to be on that boat, with a beer (not the first of the day), and develop a sudden liking for pointless meandering, unsubstantiated general philosophising, and killing things just to collect them. And I just can't.

  • John
    2018-12-07 10:05

    I love Steinbeck. Pure and simple. He seems incapable of lapses in writing and has an uncanny ability to captivate his readers. Okay, he taps into an innate geographical bias. California born and bred, I relish visiting those locales around Monterey and the San Joaquin Valley that Steinbeck describes in his novels. Plus he attended Stanford (a decade or so after my grandparents and sixty years before moi), although he did not finish. For years I have devoured whatever I could find from Steinbeck (whose position in the library is right next to another great writer of the West, Wallace Stegner, but not far enough away from another author who represents the lowest form of literary composition ...a woman named Steele). But I held off reading this book for decades. I suspected it might read like a boring textbook on marine life featuring "Doc" aka Ed Ricketts, puttering around lagoons and tide pools. Au contraire. It's another Steinbeck classic ... plenty of low-life amusing characters straight our of Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row. Some irreverent political commentary. Lurid descriptions of natural beauty. You get a sense of Steinbeck's immersion in a wonderful, simplisitc culture where the beer flows liberally and the days move leisurely. Put the Sea of Cortez on that long list of places to see before you die.

  • M. Sarki
    2018-11-13 12:15

    I was especially taken with the last section found in the appendix that honored the life and death of Steinbeck's great friend Ed Ricketts. What a wonderful tribute to a person who meant so much to so many in that part of the country. The entire book was certainly an enjoyable and satisfying read. It was good to hear this voice again.

  • Jerome Peterson
    2018-12-06 06:17

    ‘In 1940 John Steinbeck sailed in a sardine boat, Western Flyer, with his great friend the biologist Edward F. Ricketts to collect marine invertebrates from the beaches of the Gulf of California. This expedition was described by the two men in The Sea of Cortez, published in 1941. The day-to-day story of the trip is given in the Log, which combines science, philosophy, and high spirited adventure. This edition includes Steinbeck’s profile of his collaborator, “About Ed Ricketts.”’The best of Steinbeck is in this tale; his superb narrative, descriptions, insights, poetic philosophy, and of course his humor. His account of the vast variety of species was textbook but deeply interesting. The characters he ventured with were a colorful lot showing tenacity, superstition, and the freewheeling carefree behavior of 1940 sailors. Their individual names added a personal touch no doubt;note, Sparky, Tiny, Tex, and Tony. I enjoyed how Steinbeck added his bohemian philosophy much like a few other books have done. For example: Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”; “Walden’s Pond” by Thoreau’; “Kon-Tiki” by Thor Heyerdahl. These books along with the “Log” seem to depict a bohemian style of wind in the face, sunshine on the shoulders, and the searching for deeper, yet, simple truth what bohemian want-a-bee’s call “the golden days in the June of life”; when the love of a modestly elusive Truth seemed more glorious, incomparably, than the lust for the ways of the flesh and the dross of the world! I especially enjoyed Steinbeck’s philosophical take on laziness and his somber romanticizing on how the great world dropped away from them quickly; its clamor, its danger, and its demands. Remember it was a time when a good portion of the world was at war! It engaged me. After finishing the book and staring at it for a time, daydreaming, I suddenly got this tremendous urge to pack in my typewriter and bedroll, kiss the loved ones goodbye and head for the Gulf of California; just to relive what the crew of the Western Flyer experienced; and perhaps, induce a few experiences of my own. If you like to take to the sea, road, or air, in an adventure book, I highly recommend this awesome read.

  • David
    2018-12-11 04:14

    A well written book on a terribly boring subject. Why Steinbeck thought this was a good use of his skills is beyond me. The prologue ("About Ed Ricketts") is at least somewhat amusing, though hardly compelling. If Ed were a friend of mine, it would have been fascinating. But Ed is (was) not a friend mine, nor are the lobsters and starfish which Steinbeck describes with inexplicable fascination. The book contains some philosophy, which might be interesting and challenging for someone whose intellectual development fossilized at Herbert Hoover's Republicanism. Today, it's just a verbose curio.

  • Laura Leaney
    2018-11-29 11:12

    Not to be confused with the edition called The Log From the Sea of Cortez, this book is a synthesis of Steinbeck's observations while traveling the Sea of Cortez, philosophical musings, and explorations into the biological life of the ocean. It integrates the specimen notes of Ed Ricketts (marine biologist) with Steinbeck's own journal. I read most of it in anticipation of my week in San Carlos, which is featured in Steinbeck's travels. Despite bogging down a few times (the thing is lengthy!!) the biological and environmental details were beautiful. "Sulphury-green and black cucumbers," profusions of "beautiful blue sponges," "purple urchins," "brilliant-orange nudibranchs, giant terebellid worms, some shell-less air-breathing (pulmonate) snails, a ribbon-worm, and a number of solitary corals," inhabit the book. It's enough to make you leap into the water and swim to the littoral and explore the beach wracks. Steinbeck's writing is gorgeous - and his eye for character is astonishing. I love this about Tex:Tex, our engineer, was caught in the ways of the harbor. He was born in the Panhandle of Texas and early he grew to love Diesel engines. They are so simple and powerful, blocks of pure logic in shining metal. They appealed to some sense of neat thinking in Tex. He might be sentimental and illogical in some things, but he liked his engines to be true and logical. By an accident, possibly alcoholic, he came to the Coast in an old Ford and sat down beside the Bay, and there he discovered a wonderful thing. Here, combined in one, were the best Diesels to be found anywhere, and boats. He never recovered from his shocked pleasure.This is not a book for everyone. I happen to get excited over good description of the natural world, I'm patient with minutiae, and I always wanted to be an adventurer (which I'm not). Still, I can see how it could be dry for readers looking for excitement and dialogue. I feel like I've just taken a class - not so much in biology as in observation. This is the perfect way to see a Sally Lightfoot: "The very name they are called by reflects the delight of the name. These little crabs, with brilliant cloisonné carapaces, walk on their tiptoes. They have remarkable eyes and an extremely fast reaction time." I laughed at this depiction. I've never seen a living Sally Lightfoot, but I can picture them perfectly in my mind's eye.Reading about Mexico, and especially Baja, as it used to be (1941) caused a twinge of genuine regret for a time long gone. Cabo San Lucas is no longer the rural fishing village it once was (Costco and the hotel industry have changed it permanently) - and La Paz, Guaymas, and other coastal towns have all been modernized. I wish……..I wish I could have experienced Mexico then.This book is a treasure

  • Zora
    2018-12-01 11:24

    Yes, it meanders some, and yes, I felt as if I was ODing on testosterone from time to time (he edited his wife out of the text, though she was supposedly actually there on the trip), but there is so much gorgeous writing, I didn't care.We felt rather as God would feel when, after all the preparation of Paradise, all the plannings for eternities of joy, all the making and tuning of harps, the street-paving with gold, and the writing of hosannas, at last He let in the bleacher customers and they looked at the heavenly city and wished to be again in BrooklynAnd now the wind grew stronger and the windows of houses along the shore flashed in the declining sun. The forward guy-wire of our mast began to sing under the wind, a deep and yet penetrating tone like the lowest string of an incredible bull-fiddleThe moment...of leave-taking is one of the pleasantest times in human experience, for it has in it a warm sadness without loss. People who don't ordinarily like you very well are overcome with affection...It would be good to live in a perpetual state of leave-taking, never to go nor to stay, but to remain suspended in that golden emotion of love and longing....It's all so vivid and smart and wry and lovely. It's humbling if you're any sort of writer to read this level of writing and yet you can't help but love it, and the love overwhelms your despair and shame and jealousy and it's all right in the end, because it's just so wonderful, and you'd rather live in a world that had Steinbeck than one that never did.Probably a great book to listen to on audio.

  • Sylvester
    2018-11-17 06:02

    Anyone with even a minor interest in marine biology, or the more likely interest in Ed Ricketts (see "Cannery Row" and "Sweet Thursday"),or a personal weakness for tooling around in boats with friends (see "The Wind In the Willows" Kenneth Grahame - Ratty to Mole: "Believe me, my friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.")will like this book. It's not "Grapes of Wrath" mind you, it's soaking wet and as different as you can get. It's more like "The Kon-Tiki Expedition" by Thor Heyerdahl, in fact, I recommend that book to anyone who likes this one.John Steinbeck was a fascinating man, not just an amazing writer. He was interested in the world around him, and he knew how to translate that world into words. One passage, I wish I could find it, tells how there are some flatworms that are so delicate that they can't be removed from the sand without destroying them and if you want to collect one, you have to put your bucket next to it and hope it crawls in - and he directly relates this to how delicate the truth can be, that sometimes it is so subtle that it can't be told without destroying it. Steinbeck the writer and Steinbeck the marine biologist are one and the same - and this is one of his best books.

  • Dan Hogan
    2018-11-25 10:15

    I am quickly becoming just as in love with Steinbeck as a creative nonfiction writer as I am with him as a fiction writer. The Sea of Cortez initially sounds like a boring book. After all, it consists mainly of Steinbeck and a small crew including Ed Ricketts (the basis for Doc from Cannery Row) wading through tide pools and collecting and documenting animal specimens. But that's not Steinbeck's style. He infuses the narrative with heart, humor, and philosophy, so much that I found the tide pools just as compelling as the pantheon of Salinas in his fiction. He finds a way of infusing the "boring" science with a sense of wonder and adventure that it often seems devoid of. If only all scientific works were written with this much passion. Some important notes about this work include detailed philosophical thoughts on Phalanx Theory and Non-Teleological Thinking, two core concepts in understanding Steinbeck (especially the Grapes of Wrath). The book ends with a heartwarming mini-biography / eulogy for Ricketts, Steinbeck's dear friend who was killed by a train in 1948. If you are a fan of Steinbeck, you will love this book.

  • Jessaka
    2018-11-14 04:04

    This book was so boring. I was not going to sit and read how they collected sea specimens along the coast of baja, so i skipped over those parts, which were boring anyway. Also Ed's life at the beginning of the book was boring, but I also didn't like his collecting cats to kill. About all I got out of it was enjoying his speaking with the natives when on shore, but those tales were not enough to keep me interested. I wanted a sea adventure like Paddle to the Amazon, which I could not put down. And yet the books of John Steinbeck that I did love caused me to order all of his books in 4 volumes with my favorites being Grapes of Wrath, Cannery Row, and Tortilla Flats. Oh, tell me that he has other good books since I have them all.

  • Christine Boyer
    2018-12-08 09:23

    Ugh, having a hard time rating this. Was just reading some of the 2-star reviews. Someone said, "a well-written book on a terribly boring subject". There were paragraphs in there that warranted 5 stars. But there were also moments where if it wasn't Steinbeck I would have thrown 1 star at it!Let's put this in a nutshell - or maybe I should say "seashell" - ha ha. In all fairness, the forward in this 1995 addition says that the book really was a combination of ideas and daily records from both Steinbeck and his good companion on this trip, marine biologist Ed Ricketts. So maybe some of the dry parts were Ricketts' doing? In any case, it was a log, and a log can be boring. I don't think I could handle another mention of the daily catch of anemones, sponges, crabs, tunicates, and urchins. However, I loved the descriptions of the small crew: Tiny, Tex, Sparky, & Capt. Tony. I also loved the geography details of the Gulf of California and little bays and coves along the Mexican coast. I was fascinated to learn more about Steinbeck's own worldview when he discussed some of their deeper philosophical moments aboard the boat, but some of the notions were way "out there" and may have been influenced by beverage. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing! But makes for rambling and incoherence at times. Steinbeck's friend died in a car accident a few years after their expedition. Afterwards, Steinbeck wrote a beautiful piece about him which is included in the appendix of the book. The book is almost worth the read just for those few pages. I read some woman's review that she found Steinbeck's honest portrayal of his friend, "appalling" for its openness. How wrong she is - we should all be so lucky to have a friend like Steinbeck who not only knew every nuance about his friend, but was able to capture him in such moving and sincere prose.

  • Tim
    2018-11-24 11:20

    I loved Cannery Row, and wanted to read this book for a long time, and finally was motivated to do so when I read that the Western Flyer, the charter boat for this expedition, was this year in dry dock in Port Townsend, WA. I went to see the barnacle-covered boat, and picked up a copy of the book.A few things surprised me about this: Steinbeck makes almost no reference at all to himself, his wife, or the biologist Ricketts, in the log. The characters in the story are the crew, Tiny, Sparky, and all. Richard Astro's introduction helps set the stage for the log by providing a lot of background information about Steinbeck and Ricketts and their relationship. Some of Steinbeck's entries are, in my mind, esoteric and meandering, and not always that interesting. Then a passage that is brilliant, crystal, and sharp as a lightning strike, or lovely as a sonata, leaps from the pages.I very much enjoyed the description of the Sea of Cortez and Mexico in 1940. Also, his tribute to his friend Ed Ricketts, included as an appendix in this edition, is wonderful.

  • Joe1207
    2018-11-21 06:08

    "There is a strange duality in the human which makes for an ethical paradox. We have definitions of good qualities and of bad; not changing things, but generally considered good and bad throughout the ages and throughout the species. Of the good, we think always of wisdom, tolerance, kindliness, generosity, humility; and the qualities of cruelty, greed, self-interest, graspingness, and rapacity are universally considered undesirable. And yet in our structure of society, the so-called and considered good qualities are invariable concomitants of failure, while the bad ones are the cornerstones of success. A man --a viewing-point man-- while he will love the abstract good qualities and detest the abstract bad, will nevertheless envy and admire the person who through possessing the bad qualities has succeeded economically and socially, and will hold in contempt that person whose good qualities have caused failure."

  • Meg
    2018-12-13 10:13

    i would say i "didn't like it" if i could remember anything besides a possible sea and maybe a log of some sort. what i do remember is writing a horrible paper about it for my one and only biology class and using the made up phrase "evolutionary continuum" in said paper, which my brother rightly pointed out, is the most ridiculous and redundant pairing of two words to ever be put down on paper. however, i did get a B in the class and i think those people who have enough of a scientific background to avoid made up terminology like the "evolutionary continuum" might enjoy this book. therefore i give it an "it was ok" with the fair warning that it is not your typical steinbeck or shall i say, it does not fit into the steinbeckian evolutionary continuum.

  • Drew
    2018-11-27 12:18

    I thank the streets of Brooklyn for my discarded copy of "The Log of the Sea of Cortez" which enthralled me with John Steinbeck's homespun wisdom, his deep love of humanity, and his trust in the balance of things, even as he sees so much of what's wrong with the world. Not quite memoir, not quite scientific journal, Steinbeck's recounting of an expedition to collect samples of sea life in Mexico is rich with philosophy while the appendix must be one of the most bromantic eulogies in American letters.

  • Russ Lyon
    2018-12-10 09:00

    Had to read this for an ecology course on the Sea of Cortez. In the class we talked a lot about observational science and used Rickett's and Steinbeck's descriptions of the marine life they encountered on this trip as examples. Now-a-days scientists often quaff at the idea of including observational data in their research, but I feel that these descriptions help the reader get a good sense of how things appeared to the writer at the time. Science shouldn't be just all data and numbers. Plus it makes the reading a lot more enjoyable.

  • June
    2018-11-14 09:20

    Appendix about Ricketts is an essential bonus of the book. I'm unsure who (between Steinbeck and Ricketts) contribute more to this book. I'm with them both without reservation. I enjoy the lengthy details (well, I was a marine biologist student) to tackle my memory and loosely narrated mystic tales to feed my imagination. But enlightening the mind (without losing humor) is what I treasure the most that make this book unique.

  • Rachel
    2018-12-10 07:09

    I dont know why, but this book captivates me. Maybe because I long to be on a vessel wandering the coast....in the past, right before the huge explosion that has so populated and devastated the western seaboard. Seeing Monteray before the big hotels went up must of been a real hoot too...Especially after reafding Cannery Row..Steinbeck just nails it.

  • Omar
    2018-12-11 11:22

    I'm beginning to think that Steinbeck's nonfiction is his more enjoyable to me (much in the same way that Goya's sketches feel more authentic than his highly-regarded paintings). He has a way of going back and forth between descriptions of the natural world and the corresponding lessons for mankind--while alluding to a common substance in between.

  • Claire Couch
    2018-11-24 09:00

    An effortless read if you have any interest in marine biology. Steinbeck's nimble prose weaves between social commentary, biological observations, and rollicking adventure. If you enjoy this book, try Durrell's "My Family and Other Animals."

  • Jody Hultman
    2018-11-23 05:12

    The true philosophy of Steinbeck. You love Steinbeck? You want to know him? Read The Log from the Sea of Cortez. Unforgettable.

  • Iris Bratton
    2018-12-12 07:22

    An introspective look at man and how it connects us to the ocean.My resolution for the year was to travel more, so I thought this book would kickstart my motivation. But from the very beginning, Steinbeck states this is not a book about adventure. It was meant as a scientific study and was in no way supposed to be exciting. What I found instead turned out to be much more valuable. Steinbeck and marine science? I felt like this book was made just for me. As Steinbeck chronicles his discoveries, he makes comparisons to how we function as humans. He hits tough topics like war, religion and people as a collective. He makes valid points of how connected we are to the ocean. It's an eye opening experience. Now with that being said, this book is more like a textbook than a literary novel. It was meant as a journal for scientific discovery. Although there are some great thoughts and personal struggles with the Sea Cow, this book also teaches you about different species of ocean life. Being in a working environment with marine animals, it's a bit easier to understand the scientific classifications. But without that prior knowledge, I could see how this book could seem like a struggle for the average reader. This book might seem like a chore, but I found it to be very rewarding when I finished.Lovers of science and Steinbeck will love this. But for casual readers, maybe steer clear of this one.

  • Kelly ...
    2018-12-04 11:10

    This book is full of science about aquatic life. It is filled with information that only sailors might understand, and it is more of a journal than a book. It doesn't feel polished. And yet it is wonderful! And I think it is wonderful because it is told with so much love and respect. For the reader it feels like a journey that John is thrilled to be on and equally happy to share. It feels a bit like a love letter to his friend Ed Ricketts. Cannery Row just moved higher up my TBR list!I have become a huge fan of John Steinbeck over the past few weeks and each book I read solidifies that more for me. I am a fan of the writer and of the man. His books make me feel like I know him -- and I like the man I know. I wish I could have known the man in the real world. He tells the story of Americana with love and respect but never shies away from the hardships.The Log from the Sea of Cortez is a strong, solid 4.5 stars.

  • John Bardsley
    2018-11-30 10:07

    I've spent the last hour and a half speed-reading this book to its end. I'm unable to say much good about this book. Outside of a few insightful moments and the creative parallels between nature and man, which Steinbeck draws in each of his books, the book was to me average. Further, it demands extensive knowledge of marine biology that I, and anyone who isn't fervently interested in the topic, lack. Because I lacked this knowledge I will not give this book a review in stars. In the same way that an extensive study of quantum mechanics belongs in the hands of a scientist, this, to a less degree, belongs in the hands of a marine biologist.

  • P.S. Winn
    2018-11-21 07:26

    Head back to 1940 and join John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts. The two are on a journey to the beaches of the Gulf of California. The trip can be found in the book "Sea of Cortez" This is the log that tells the whole journey.

  • Mark
    2018-11-19 04:03

    Somehow this one got under my Steinbeck radar but I am glad I discovered it. Another worthy read by the master.

  • Eóin Brown
    2018-11-23 08:05

    I love Steinbeck, but didn't enjoy a whole book about killing animals. Ironically, page after page of excruciatingly detailed descriptions of anemones and sea cucumbers very nearly killed my love of reading.