Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cousteau, Jean-Michel with Daniel Paisner My Father, The Captain: My Life With Jacques Cousteau

Cousteau, Jean-Michel with Daniel Paisner My Father, The Captain: My Life With Jacques Cousteau
National Geographic 2010 255 26.00
978-1-4262-0683-2 hs/adult VG-BN
An intimate portrait of the oceanographer who inspired millions to learn more about marine life and conservation. Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of legendary undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau, spent most of his adult life nurturing the work of his famous father. In an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the legend versus the man, the younger Cousteau writes: “Captain Cousteau was a complicated man. He was a man of many different personalities, many different moods. But this is how it is with all great men, yes? We know the public mask, but it is the private face that reveals a man’s true character. It is the man we know when the cameras are not filming.”
Jean-Michel and his collaborator, New York Times best-selling author Daniel Paisner, offer an intimate portrait of the seminal moments in his father’s legend. Students studying the innovative and passionate Jacques Cousteau will find new material here, but the lack of an index makes pinpointing specific topics difficult -- and this is not casual reading material. The prose is stiff and self-conscious. It is only the innate drama of a fascinating man’s life unfolding, combined with details from the pioneer marine conservationist’s perspective, that propels the dialogue forward. Jean Michel’s disillusionment with his father and his causes as an adult clearly contrasts with his childhood hero-worship. Jean-Michel’s bitterness regarding his father’s mistresses and second wife and family is palpable.

A small section of black-and-white photographs enliven the narrative. 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Jacques Cousteau’s birth. Topical content (100th anniversary of Jacques Cousteau’s birth) from the intimate point-of-view of Cousteau’s son, Jean-Michel, introduces the celebrated marine conservationist and explorer to a new generation. Welliver, Hilary
Cousteau, Jacques

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