We do not see the ocean when we look at the water that blankets more than two-thirds of our planet. We only see the entrance to it. Beyond that entrance is an alien world hostile to humans, yet critical to our survival.
The first people to enter that world clutched rocks, held their breath and plunged beneath the surface. Over centuries, daring explorers devised wooden diving bells, clumsy diving suits, and unwieldy contraptions in attempts to go deeper and stay longer. But each advance downward was fraught with danger, as the intrepid divers had to survive the crushing weight of water, or the deadly physiological effects of breathing compressed air. The vertical odyssey continued when trailblazers climbed into heavy steel spheres dangling on cables, or hung beneath floats filled with flammable gasoline. Finally, during the Cold War, the ocean depths became a battleground for nuclear submarines, provoking an international race to unlock the secrets of the narrow trenches at the very bottom of the abyss.
Meticulously researched, and drawing extensively on unpublished sources, The Frontier Below exposes long-held myths and reveals the untold story of the pioneers who had the right stuff, but were forgotten because they went in the wrong direction.
Jeff Maynard is an Australian author and documentary maker. His books include Niagara's Gold, Divers in Time and The Letterbox War of Kamarooka Street.
Jeff has written widely for television and contributed articles to magazines around the world. He is a former editor of Australian Motorcycle News and retains an interest in classic motorcycles. He is a keen scuba diver and a former field-editor for Australasian Scuba Diver. He is President of the Historical Diving Society: South East Asia, Pacific and a Member of the Explorers Club.
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