Four years ago, The New York Times ran a series of articles about a vast, menacing world rarely covered in the media, an offshore frontier crucial to the existence of the planet and yet one in which impunity is the norm in the face of murder, piracy, enslavement, commercial violations, and environmental offenses. The series documented a range of egregious crimes being committed on the high seas and largely going unpunished. It reported on killings of stowaways and others, sea slavery, intentional dumping, illegal fishing, gun running, and the stealing of ships. But there was more to reveal, and the author of the series, Ian Urbina, has gone on to write The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier (Knopf, $30). The book is a startling and riveting exposé that bears witness to a woefully under-protected part of the world beset by all kinds of ills but also one vital to the global economy.
Heinerth, a diver, photographer, and filmmaker, is one of the few women in the rarefied field of underwater cave exploration, a “sport” that claims more deaths than mountain climbing. Feeling at home in water as she seldom does on land, Heinerth finds an exhilarating freedom when plunged miles below the surface—despite being strapped into equipment weighing as much as 250+ pounds. In her astounding memoir she recounts her record-breaking dives to map cave networks around the world, including, most spectacularly—and dangerously—her exploration of “the largest moving object on earth,” the Antarctic’s B-15 iceberg. But Heinerth’s rich descriptions of otherworldly seascapes, the fascinating glimpses of the technology that makes long, deep dives possible, her tales of the adventures involved in just getting to the dive sites, and the chilling reports of illness, accidents, and fatalities, are only half her story. The other half is the self-scrutiny of a talented, ambitious woman struggling with doubt, insecurity, and rampant sexism even as she sets records, leads dangerous projects, and proves herself over and over again. Launched into diving as a way to manage two traumatizing experiences when she was in college, she found her calling when she “learned to embrace fear as a positive catalyst in my life.”
Dust off the fedora, grab your leather jacket, and bust out the old whip! In Douglas Preston’s new book The Lost City of the Monkey God you’ll find adventures few tomb raiders have ever experienced. Preston goes searching for a lost city long rumored to be located in the near-impenetrable jungles of Honduras. Not content to just tell his own story, Preston also vividly relates the history of over one hundred years worth of expeditions mounted in search of this mythical city. This book is filled with so much adventure it would make even Indiana Jones swoon.