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Drawing on interviews with mariners, insurers, scientists, and surfers, Casey writes up a fascinating compendium of information about the scientists' specialties and the global shipping industry's concern with high-amplitude waves, which apparently sink dozens of vessels annually. But her exciting passages concern the surfers tow surfers, specifically. These are the thrill-seeking maniacs who ride breakers 60 feet and higher, emerging gloriously from the curl or vanishing in bone-breaking wipeouts. From tow-surfing stars such as Laird Hamilton, credited with inventing the sport, Casey relays both the characteristics of titanic waves and, more to the ineffable point, why surfers attempt to ride them. Journeying to surfer hangouts like Maui, Tahiti, and California, Casey intensely captures surfers' euphoric triumphs alongside giant waves' punishment, sometimes capital, of any mistake. Stoking the ever-popular topic of extremities of nature, Casey imparts awe in her rogue-wave connection of commerce, science, and sport.--Taylor, Gilbert Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publishers Weekly
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Casey, O magazine editor-in-chief, travels across the world and into the past to confront the largest waves the oceans have to offer. This dangerous water includes rogue waves south of Africa, storm-born giants near Hawaii, and the biggest wave ever recorded, a 1,740 foot-high wall of wave (taller than one and a third Empire State Buildings) that blasted the Alaska coastline in 1958. Casey follows big-wave surfers in their often suicidal attempts to tackle monsters made of H2O, and also interviews scientists exploring the danger that global warning will bring us more and larger waves. Casey writes compellingly of the threat and beauty of the ocean at its most dangerous. We get vivid historical reconstructions and her firsthand account of being on a jet-ski watching surfers risk their lives. Casey also smoothly translates the science of her subject into engaging prose. This book will fascinate anyone who has even the slightest interest in the oceans that surround us. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved