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The Reef: A Passionate History: The Great Barrier Reef from Captain Cook to Climate Change

Acclaimed historian Iain McCalman brings us the first book of its kind…from terror to global treasure, in twelve extraordinary tales.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system. It can be seen from outer space, has been selected as a World Heritage Site and is labelled one of the seven natural wonders of the world, yet few know the social, cultural and environmental history behind it.

Today The Reef is known for its astonishing underwater beauty and diversity, however once it was notorious for shipwrecks in its treacherous waters. Scientists have spent years theorising about the creation of this massive structure and it has sparked fiery debates between Darwinists and creationists. Castaways and shipwreck survivors lived for years with the Indigenous peoples of The Reef who taught their traditional ways of life. Resource hunters have exploited The Reef whilst beachcombers and artists have fought to stop them.

An eloquent and gifted storyteller, Iain McCalman brings to life the people who have shaped our knowledge and perception of The Great Barrier Reef. Arguing that it is a product of human as much as natural history, McCalman describes encounters between peoples and places and ideas and environments, over the past two centuries and more to today, when many fear for The Reef’s survival.