Jacques Cousteau opened up the undersea world as no one has done before or since. But not generally know is the fascinating and compelling individual behind the acclaimed television personality.
With the cooperation of many of Jacques Cousteau’s collaborators, friends, and family, Brad Matsen gives us the first full picture of this remarkable life. Here is Cousteau working for the French resistance during World War II (for which he received France’s Croix de Guerre); developing—and risking his life to test—the regulator that made scuba diving possible; running the world’s largest scuba equipment manufacturing firm; becoming a legendary catalyst of the worldwide environmental movement; starring in The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau and in hundreds of documentaries; and publishing more than fifty books. And here is the widowed Cousteau marrying his longtime mistress—forty years his junior and the mother of two of his children—kindling a bitter family feud that continues to this day.
Vividly conveying the people, the adventure, the science, and the lure of the sea that shaped Cousteau’s life, Matsen paints a luminous portrait of a man who profoundly changed the way we view, and treat, our planet.
From the Hardcover edition.
Almost everyone has a vague notion of Jacques Cousteau the diver, but in this literary exploration, Brad Matsen goes deeper to reveal Cousteau the spy, environmentalist, inventor, businessman, Academy Award-winner, writer, philanderer and war hero. According to Matsen, Cousteau not only invented some of the most integral parts of the SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus), including the diving regulator, he also tested the equipment himself at great peril. From his floating base of operations, the Calypso, Cousteau used innovation, diligence and vigor to transform his personal passion into an oceanic empire, which included the world's largest manufacturer of scuba equipment, a film and television production company, and a series of popular books. But Matsen reports that, like so many imperious men, Cousteau was subservient to his hormones, as he carried on a longtime affair with Francine Triplet, a woman forty years younger than him whom he married shortly after his wife Simone died.
- Biography + Autobiography
- Science + Technology
- October 5, 2010
- October 5, 2010
- Brad Matsen